Suspect in custody seen in Suriname before attacks – Top Cop

first_imgPirate massacreAs investigations continue both in Suriname and in Guyana regarding the recent attacks on fishermen on the high seas in Dutch waters, the Guyana Police Force has confirmed that they have information which placed one of the three suspects being held here, over in Suriname just days prior to the attacks.Acting Police Commissioner David RamnarineThis was disclosed at a press conference on Wednesday to brief the local press on the recent visit to the neighbouring country by security officials led by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.According to Police Commissioner (ag), David Ramnarine, during the press briefing, the three persons in custody here were held based on information received from Surinamese law enforcement as well as from fisherfolk on the ground.“…The three persons are in custody as a result of information received and it is not definitive at this point in time as to the nature of any involvement or the extent of any involvement at this point in time. We did receive information from one and two fishermen which seems to have placed one of the persons in custody at a certain area in Suriname prior to the departure of fishermen and a certain conversation would have unfolded but that is as far as we have in this point in time,” Ramnarine noted.According to the Commissioner, while a lot more work will have to be done to get to the bottom of the matter, local investigators have since obtained detailed statements and are in constant contact with the Force’s legal advisor.Moreover, Ramnarine confirmed reports that revenge may have been the cause of the recent attacks on Guyanese fishermen in the Dutch waters.“There is a lot of work that needs to be done. It seems to be that the basis for this gruesome, heinous and dastardly act had to do with some form of retaliation for one of the persons in custody whose brother was alleged gun downed in a drive-by shooting on 30th of March [2018] in Suriname… We have, among other things, sought extension (of time to further hold the three suspects in custody) because we have a lot of work to do,” the Top Cop stated.The person who was gunned down in Paramaribo was Somnauth Manohar, a Guyanese fishing boat owner, who was living and working in the neighbouring country. It has been reported that the man’s death stemmed from an ongoing dispute between Guyanese fishermen here and those residing in Suriname over fishing rights in Dutch waters. Investigators are working on the theory that Manohar’s family may have planned the recent horrific attacks in retaliation of and to avenge his death.In fact, the man’s son was hauled in for questioning in Suriname, while his brother is among the three in custody here.Currently, law enforcement in Suriname have a total of 15 persons in custody, among whom are two alleged suspects – “Crackhead” and “Dick” – who were identified by survivors as two of sea bandits, all Guyanese, who attacked the fishermen on the high seas in Surinamese waters on April 27 last, during which 20 crew members were chopped and tossed overboard. Thus far, there have been five survivors and three bodies recovered while 12 fishermen are still missing.Law enforcements have confirmed that the second attack just days later, which saw a boat captain killed and his crew missing, is also believed to be linked to the first incident.A few days after those attacks, fishermen in Surinamese waters captured “Crackhead” at Commewijne and after a sound thrashing, he was handed over to Police. The reports from the neighbouring country say that the suspect allegedly confessed to Dutch investigators that he was involved in the attack which was carried out based on instructions from someone.During Wednesday’s press briefing, Minister Ramjattan said as Guyana’s and Suriname’s law enforcement agencies continue to collaboration to get to the root cause of what described as a “major disaster, catastrophe and massacre”, and to also get justice for the victims, the Guyana Police Force has requested the case file from its Dutch counterparts.Meanwhile, the Public Security Minister noted that the Surinamese authorities have indicated that the bodies of those three fishermen that were recovered will only be handed over to relatives after DNA testings are conducted to ascertain their identities. While Suriname has the facilities to conduct these tests, the Guyanese officials were told that this process would take some time.On the other hand, fishermen in the neighbouring country have since docked their boats out of fear of recent events. Some of the fisherfolks including the survivors have complained bitterly about the treatment at the hands of the Dutch authorities, saying that no proper measures are in place to protect fishermen, who are mostly Guyanese, while out at sea.But Ramjattan said at the press conference on Wednesday that the Surinamese Ministers whom he met during his visit have assured the immediate implementation of regulations to better secure the fishing industry there. These include setting up checkpoints to get detailed information about vessels and crews going out to sea and put monitoring system in place such as transmission systems in the fishing boats so that they can make quick contact with those on the mainland.last_img read more