Indonesian navy 'shot Viet fishermen in South China Sea'

HANOI • Indonesia's navy shot and wounded four Vietnamese fishermen aboard a fishing boat in the South China Sea at the weekend, the Vietnamese authorities said.

The Vietnamese boat, which had six sailors on board, was about 245km south-east of Vietnam's Con Dao island when the fishermen were shot last Saturday night, the Binh Dinh provincial search and rescue committee said on its website.

The boat was led back to Con Dao island early yesterday morning and the wounded men were taken to hospital.

"Two seriously injured sailors were sent to the Con Dao district's medical centre and their situation is improving," the report said. The two others sustained lighter injuries.

The coordinates given by the Vietnamese indicated that the shooting happened close to the area Indonesia now calls the North Natuna Sea.

Indonesia's navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Sahono Budianto, an official at Indonesia's Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, said he was not aware of the alleged shooting.

Indonesian and Vietnamese vessels have previously clashed in the South China Sea, over which multiple South-east Asian countries as well as China and Taiwan have competing claims.

In May, trawlers from the two nations clashed after the Indonesian coast guard briefly captured Vietnamese fishing boats allegedly operating illegally in its waters.

Jakarta has detained 11 Vietnamese sailors following the clash around Indonesia's Natuna Islands, while a member of its coast guard is still being held by Hanoi. Both sides then said they had agreed to resolve the incident through diplomatic channels, hoping to prevent further future incidents.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'Indonesian navy 'shot Viet fishermen in South China Sea''. Print Edition | Subscribe