The repatriates are nine fishermen who were detained in Libreville's central prison, accused of illegal fishing, and their repatriation took place after a negotiation process between the government and the Gabonese authorities.
The Angolans are part of a group of 16 fishermen from the province of Cabinda, who, using artisanal vessels, were detained by the Gabon authorities in August 2022, according to a press release from MIREX.
The statement said that in 2021, Gabon changed the legal fishing regime in its territorial waters, which were now considered "off-limits areas" and "natural parks", with fishing in this area since then considered a public crime.
MIREX points out that there has been "an increase in cases of 'illegal Angolan fishermen', who, using artisanal and rudimentary vessels, without any guidance using navigational instruments, end up crossing the landmarks and practicing fishing in areas considered prohibited" .
The fishermen were repatriated on a National Air Force (FAN) aircraft, made available by the Angolan government, which "continues to make efforts for the release and consequent repatriation of the remaining fishermen, still detained in Gabon".