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Guyanese pirates suspected in disappearance of 16 fishermen off Suriname’s coast

Story by Associated Press

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Sixteen fishermen are missing and feared dead after pirates raided their boats off the coast of Suriname and forced them to jump overboard, authorities in the South American country said Monday.

The fishermen were part of a group of 20 in four boats who were attacked off the Atlantic coast of Suriname, said Cmdr. Jerry Slijngard of the Surinamese Coast Guard.

Four men managed to swim to shore and three of them remain hospitalized. They told police and the Coast Guard that the assailants, suspected of coming from neighboring Guyana because of their accents, beat them with machetes and forced them to jump into the sea. They said some of the victims had batteries tied to their legs to weigh them down.

Coast Guard and police vessels, along with members of the Fisheries Collective Association, have searched for the missing men and the pirates since the attack late Friday.

“We are still searching the area with family members of the fishermen, hoping for a miracle,” said Mark Lall, president of the Fisheries Collective Association.