By Ivan Cairo / CMC
PARAMARIBO, Suriname – Pirates attacked another fishing boat in Surinamese waters killing one man on Wednesday, even as the authorities are still searching for victims and recovering bodies from last Friday’s deadly attack on four fishing boats.
According to Mark Lall, secretary of Visserscollectief, a local fishermen’s association, the captain of the boat in the latest attack was killed. The whereabouts of his crew members is uncertain.
On Thursday, several fishing boats, the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies headed to the area near Matapica Canal where the latest attack allegedly took place. They found the body of the captain.
Meanwhile the body of one of the victims of Friday’s attack was recovered Wednesday evening from the Wia Wia mud flat and brought to the capital.
Early Thursday the Coast Guard sailed out to recover two more bodies that where spotted in the same area.
Recovery attempts on Wednesday where hampered said Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Slijngard, who is coordinatimg the rescue and recovery operations.
“The mud is very thick and rescue workers had to crawl on their belly to reach the location,” said Slijngard, director of the National Coordination Center for Disaster Management (NCCR).
He further noticed that the recovered body bore marks of violence.
Sixteen fishermen had been reported missing following last week’s attack. Only four of the crew members, including a captain of one of the boats, managed to reach shore after they were rescued by other boats. The rest are believed to have died.
According to reports there is strong evidence that the latest attacks are not random acts of criminals robbing fishermen of their catch or other valuables.
Several sources indicate that these acts my be evidence of a turf war between Guyanese fishermen over fishing grounds. According to Slijngard there is credible intelligence that a gang of 9 to 11 criminals led by two Guyanese brothers are responsible for recent attacks on fishermen.
One of the brothers is based in Guyana while the other has residence in Suriname, said Slijngard. In the meantime the Surinamese authorities passed the names of several suspects to the Guyanese police in a bid to bring them to justice.
According to a Stabroek News report, last Friday evening, five pirates attacked four boats carrying a total of 20 persons just off the Suriname Coast. It was reported that each boat was occupied by five persons, comprising the captain and four fishermen.
The pirates, reportedly armed with cutlasses and guns, chopped and beat the fishermen before robbing them, the newspaper reported.
It had been reported that some of the men were ordered to jump overboard with their injuries, while others were thrown overboard with batteries strapped to their legs.
However, four men who survived the attack, swam until they were rescued by passing vessels. One of the survivors has been identified as Darmandew Persaud.
According to the Stabroek News, among the missing men identified are: Tilaknauth Mohabir, 50, also known as ‘Kai’; Ganesh Persaud, 27, a captain of one of the boats attacked by the pirates; Ralph Anthony Couchman, 19, also known as ‘Burnham’; Ramesh Sanchara; Glenroy Jones, 21; Randy Burnette; Ramnarine Singh; Bharat Heeralall also known as “Record”, 49; Bobby Ibrahim, Sunil known as Poddock and Mahesh Sarjoo. – CMC