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Suriname arrests 13 Guyanese suspects in piracy attacks

By Ivan Cairo

PARAMARIBO – Police authorities here confirmed Monday that they have detained thirteen suspects in the ongoing investigation into the recent armed attacks on several fishing boats offshore Suriname.

While several individuals were captured by fishermen most of the suspects, all Guyanese fishermen, were arrested over the weekend at several location by police, Coast Guard and the Bureau for National Security (BNV).

While the thirteen are being questioned about their possible involvement in the recent attacks, several other individuals who were also arrested without proper immigration status were deported to Guyana. Among the detainees is also the son of Somnauth Manohar, a fishing boat owner who was gunned down in March in front of his home in Paramaribo at a drive-by shooting. Sources have indicated that the murder of Manohar sparked the violent attacks on Friday, as part of an ongoing dispute between Guyanese fishermen in Suriname. Relatives of Manohar vowed to retaliate his death.

Meanwhile the Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued a contact ban so that the detainees have no contact with the outside world or their lawyers. This is being done because the investigation is still in its early stages. The restriction can legally last a maximum of fourteen days. In the attacks two Fridays ago twenty fishermen were victims of the assault. So far, three bodies have been recovered and five men have survived the incident.

Saturday the Surinamese minister of Defence announced that the marine of the Surinamese National Army will deploy gun boats to patrol the coastal waters more frequently. Minister Ronni Benschop also said that choppers will assist during these operations. Since the attacks most boat owners recalled their vessels back to the dock until the sea is safe again to venture back out there.