‘Rambocus and Daal killed by Bouterse’ – witness tells Suriname hearing

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO — Former army commander Desi Bouterse personally shot and killed union leader Cyril Daal and lieutenant Surindre Rambocus on 8 December 1982. Bouterse confided this secret to his then friend and comrade Ruben Rozendaal. He also confessed that he had fired the fatal shot that killed Lieutenant Wim van Aalst on 25 February 1980 during the coup. Rozendaal spilled his guts before court martial at Boxel yesterday in the December murder trial. The suspect appeared in court again at the request of Judge Advocate Roy Elgin, but this time as a witness against main suspect Desi Bouterse. On 8 May 2010, Rozendaal had declared under oath that he had not seen Bouterse in Fort Zeelandia, the scene of the murders, on 8 December 1982. On 9 March last, he changed his story. Bouterse had been present in the Fort, and he Rozendaal, had personally taken trade unionist Fred Derby, now deceased, to him. Rozendaal told the court that he and Bouterse were good friends who met regularly back then. On one of those meetings Bouterse disclosed that he had personally shot and killed Daal and Rambocus. Van Aalst’s death at the coup was a mistake. Rozendaal explained that he and Paul Bhagwandas had wanted to overpower the lieutenant, but it went awry and he was shot. Bouterse later disclosed that he had been the one who fired that shot. Rozendaal told the court that the 8 December operations were no military operations, but simply brutal and cowardly murders. Bouterse had been in the fort since 7 December. Bouterse’s lawyer, Irwin Kanhai, had suggested that some military might have acted without Bouterse knowledge, but Rozendaal says that would be highly improbable, because he later sanctioned the killing on television stating that the prisoners had been shot during an escape attempt. Bouterse had lied to his former comrades about a pending coup, necessitating the arrests. He would also have pointed to the real culprits if he was innocent.

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