By Ivan Cairo
PARAMARIBO – While authorities here are still searching for victims and recovering bodies from last Friday’s deadly attack on four fishing boats in Surinamese waters pirates attacked another fishing boat Wednesday night killing at least one fisherman.
According to Mark Lall, secretary of Visserscollectief, a local fishermen’s association, the captain of the boat was killed. The whereabouts of his crew members is uncertain.
Several fishing boats, the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies are currently on their way to the area near Matapica Canal where the latest attack allegedly took place. “When we arrived at the location we will know more about what has happened”, Lall told local media. Meanwhile the body of one of the victims of Friday’s attack has been recovered last evening from the Wia Wia mud flat and brought to the capital.
The Coast Guard sailed out again Thursday morning to recover two more bodies that where spotted in the same area. Recovery attempts yesterday 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.
Meanwhile there is strong evidence that the latest attacks are no ordinary or random acts of criminals robbing fishermen of their catch or other valuables. Several sources indicate that a turf war between Guyanese fishermen is going on over ‘rights’ in Suriname’s fishing grounds.
At least Friday’s attack seems to be a retaliation for the killing of a pirate leader several weeks ago. 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 apprehend them.