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SURINAME: Police kill two bandits, injure three

One of the injured persons receiving medical attention.

PARAMARIBO, Suriname- In a shoot-out police in Suriname killed two suspected armed robbers Monday while three other suspects received gunshot wounds and were admitted to hospital for medical treatment.

According to police and media reports two officers also sustained gunshot wounds and also rushed to hospital. Reports indicate that several police units, including the SWAT Team, responded to information that an armed robbery was in progress in the Blauwgrond area just north of the capital Paramaribo.

Minutes later police arrived at the scene and opened fire on the suspects’ getaway cars. The bandits, several of whom were armed with high powered military weapons, returned fire and even tossed a hand grenade at the officers in a daring bid to escape. Fortunately the grenade didn’t detonate since the safety pin got stuck. One of the suspects, who was shot in the head, succumbed to his injuries at a car part shop nearby and the other one died in hospital while receiving medical treatment. Sources indicate that the two injured police officers are in stable condition. Their wounds were not life-threatening.

In one of the getaway cars officers found police uniforms, high powered assault weapons, a red flashing light and several other paraphernalia. Mere hours after the shoot-out Romano Meriba, foster son of president Desi Bouterse, appeared on radio answering questions whether his car was being used by the bandits during the robbery as one of the getaway cars. Claiming his innocence Meriba disclosed that he lend his vehicle last week to a friend to move items to a new apartment since the said friend was relocating to a new address. Meanwhile there is no confirmation whether the said friend is among the suspects. Noting privacy reasons Meriba said he wouldn’t disclose where he was during the robbery. He argued however that he will assist police during the investigations.

In 2005 Meriba was convicted to serve a 15 year prison term for robbery and killing of a Chinese shop owner in 2002. He was also sentenced for throwing a hand grenade at the residence of the then Dutch ambassador in Suriname. In March 2012 he was arrested in Paramaribo accused of assaulting and beating up a police officer and a patron in a night club. Meriba remained for a short period in lock ups since the complaints were retracted the following day.