Death of Suriname cop could have piracy link

-another boat owner under arrest here

Another Berbice boat owner remains under arrest here for alleged links to the recent deadly pirate attacks off neighbouring Suriname even as law enforcement from that country is probing the shooting death of one of its cops for a possible link.

Crime Chief, Paul Williams, yesterday confirmed that a male from Number 43 Village, Corentyne, was last Friday arrested at his home after the description of the boat which was used to carry out one of the recent piracy attacks matched his.

On April 27 pirates attacked four boats carrying a total of 20 persons just off the Suriname Coast. It was reported that each boat was occupied by five persons, comprising the captain and four fishermen. The pirates, reportedly armed with cutlasses and guns, chopped and beat the fishermen before robbing them.

It had been reported that some of the men were ordered to jump overboard with their injuries, while others were thrown overboard with batteries strapped to their legs.

One the bodies being taken to a mortuary after being retrieved earlier this month from the Wai Wai Bank in Suriname by marine guards.

Four men who survived the attack swam until they were rescued by passing vessels and last week, another survivor was found. Four bodies have also since been recovered.

According to a police source, the fisherman in custody was arrested after the information on the description of the boat was relayed from Suriname to Guyana investigators. The source noted that the man when questioned in Berbice claimed ownership of the boat matching the description provided by survivors. The boat owner has insisted that he was not involved in the attack. The man has since been taken to Georgetown for further questioning.

The man in custody is one of several fishermen this newspaper had spoken to following the deadly pirate attacks. When he was approached then, he said that he did not wish to comment and indicated all that he knew of the tragedy was what he had learned through the media.

The arrested man is a close associate of the first person in Guyana who was arrested in relation to the attacks, 39-year-old Nakool Manohar, also known as “Fyah”.

The body of the auxiliary agent being transferred to the morgue (de Ware Tijd online photo)

Manohar has since been charged with committing two robberies on the sea in 2015 and 2016. He was remanded to prison and the matter was adjourned to May 30 at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court.

Manohar’s brother who resided in Suriname, a boat owner also, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Suriname, on March 30th of this year. The April 27 attacks are being seen as reprisals for Manohar’s killing.

Berbice police had also held two of Manohar’s associates for questioning during the initial stages of the investigation, however, after the extension of time granted to keep those men in custody was up, investigators were forced to release the men.

Meanwhile, over in Suriname, the police are investigating the possible homicide of one of their colleagues.

This newspaper understands that law enforcement is working on the theory that a policeman found dead in a car yesterday was a supplier of arms to pirates and his death could be a possible homicide or suicide.

Two Surinamese media outlets reported that police officer Ravikant Premcharan, 23, was found dead in a car on Passiebloemstraat in Paramaribo, Suriname.

According to Suriname’s Star Nieuws, Premcharan had left home around 1 pm on Saturday.

Star Nieuws reported yesterday that the officer’s father supposedly received an SMS, where a “declaration was made” that he was allegedly kidnapped by Guyanese persons. Acting on the information, his family members on Saturday evening reported that he was missing to the Surinamese authority, who sent a message for the police in the district to be on the lookout for their colleague.

The police in Suriname have launched an investigation.

However, that country’s  de Ware Tijd online news said that it had information from police officials there that the death is probably a suicide and the messages from the man were to confuse his family.

“They [police] assume that real kidnappers would not easily identify and expose themselves. The suspicion is high that the text message was meant to lead family members astray,” de Ware Tijd reported.

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