Two teen fishermen killed by police

  • 22/05/2009 02:00
  • 22/05/2009 02:00
PANAMA. Insecurity is extending to the seas around Panama, and this week led to the shooting deaths of two teen age fishermen. Drug tr...

PANAMA. Insecurity is extending to the seas around Panama, and this week led to the shooting deaths of two teen age fishermen. Drug traffickers currently sail through Panamanian waters on their way to deliver their illegal cargoes to the United States and other countries in the region.

Fishermen live in constant fear of the criminals, who sometimes, disguised as members of the National Police rob and, on occasions, kill them.

The police are also confused and frequently detain fishing boats in the belief they are full of illegal drugs and weapons.

On Tuesday a tragedy finally occurred when two young fishermen were killed by members of the Anti-drugs Units of the Police Information Department. According to witnesses the police ordered the fishing boat “Niña Evy” to prepare to be boarded, but instead of stopping the crew of five decided to flee.

A pursue started finally ending when the police fired shots at the vessel causing the death of the brothers Dagoberto, 18 and Rigoberto, 16.

Perez Rivera, a third occupant was injured and two others were detained. The five fishermen were from Playa Leona, in La Chorrera. The incident happened in front of the Panama Viejo coasts at 10:00 p.m. The deaths of Dagoberto and Rigoberto, are being investigated by the Public Ministry. A search of the “Niña Evy” revealed that there were no drugs or weapons aboard. Duria a second search a mini uzzi was found.

The Auxiliary Prosecutor, Luis Martinez said that it appears that the police planted the weapon and the officers involved are going to have to 'provide an explanation.

Martinez said that so far the account of the facts from the policemen involved in the case are full of inconsistencies and contradictions and that he will investigate the matter fully.

Meanwhile the family of the deceased fishermen said that they were good men who earned their living fishing. They are demanding justice.

The grandmother of the Perez brothers, Teresa Perez said that the police made a terrible mistake when they fired against five young men, who were returning home after spending all day fishing in Darien. Manuel Aparicio, who has been a fisherman for more than eight years, said that the situation that they are facing is getting worse. “Modern pirates in speedboats, who looked like police stop our boats to rob us. They take engines, gasoline and anything we have of value. Sometimes they beat us and throw us into the water. Two months ago they shot up a fishing boat,” said Aparicio.

“We fishermen are scared and do not know to whom to turn. For safety reasons we only fish from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., after that we get together and come back to port as a group to avoid encounters with criminals, ”said Aparicio.

Something must be done before more people are killed by mistake, said the fisherman.

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