Suriname cop’s murder suspected to be reprisal for fatal attack on fishers

Ravikant Premcharan

Ravikant Premcharan, the 23-year-old Surinamese policeman who was discovered dead in a vehicle in Paramaribo on Sunday, is suspected to have been killed in an act of revenge after the recent fatal attack on almost two dozen fishers off the coast of Suriname.

Premcharan was shot and stabbed about his body, confirming that his death was not a suicide, as initially suspected by authorities in Suriname. 

Surinamese media had reported that Premcharan was found dead in a vehicle on Passiebloemstraat in Paramaribo, Suriname on Sunday.

A report from the Dagblad Suriname newspaper yesterday stated that when Premcharan’s body was removed from the vehicle, it was discovered that the perpetrators had cut his neck.

It also said the perpetrators escaped with Premcharan’s service weapon and a weapon that he was suspected to be supplying to pirates.

Premcharan’s death occurred amidst the ongoing probe of the recent attack on fishers off the coast of Suriname.

On April 27th, four boats carrying a total of 20 persons just off the Suriname Coast were attacked. It was reported that each boat was occupied by five persons, comprising the captain and four fishermen. The perpetrators, reportedly armed with cutlasses and guns, chopped and beat the fishermen before robbing them. Some of the men were ordered to jump overboard with their injuries, while others were thrown overboard with batteries strapped to their legs.

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

Authorities suspect that the April 27th attacks were a reprisal for the murder of Somnath Manohar, a boat owner who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Suriname on March 30th of this year.

A de Ware Tijd report seen by Stabroek News yesterday stated US$50,000 was reportedly offered after Manohar’s murder for “retaliatory action.”

Manohar’s brother, Nakool Manohar, 39, also known as “Fyah,” was recently charged here with committing pirate attacks in 2015 and 2016. He was remanded to prison.

A close associate of Manohar was also arrested at his home on Friday by ranks of the Criminal Investigation Department’s Major Crimes Unit after the description of the boat which was used to carry out the attacks on the fishers matched his.

However, a police source yesterday informed this newspaper that the man was yesterday released on $1 million station bail as there is no concrete evidence linking him to the attacks.

Supplier

Meanwhile, Dagblad Suriname reported that Premcharan’s relatives suspect that his killers believed that he was a supplier of weapons to pirates.

“The family concludes in this that the perpetrators have seen the victim as the supplier of weapons… whereas this is not the case,” the report said, before adding that Premcharan had started trading a weapon on behalf of man who was held by police there on Sunday.

The 30-year-old is suspected to have provided a Glock weapon to Premcharan, the report said.

Dagblad Suriname related that the family of Premcharan indicated that he had received a weapon from the suspect to continue trading it.

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

It had reported 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 authorities, who alerted the police in the district to be on the lookout for their colleague.

The family, according to Dagblad Suriname, also reported their belief that they were being watched. “They suspected that the suspects are trying to deter the family from having the case investigated”, the report said.

On Sunday evening, Dagblad Suriname said, a dark coloured vehicle passed the home of Premcharan’s family. “The vehicle drove up and down and it is noticeable that when the car approached the entrance to the victim’s home, the speed was reduced and the vehicle was running at a walking pace,” the report said.