SPOTTED: Bodies of four fishermen attacked and dumped at sea

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Authorities in Suriname have spotted the remains of four Guyanese fishermen who were attacked off the coast of Suriname over the weekend, but just one of the bodies has been recovered.

The Surinamese Police and Army have undertaken both sea and aerial patrols to find the men as detectives in Guyana hunt those suspected to have attacked the fishermen aboard their vessels and them dumping them in the high seas.

The body brought to shore has been identified as that of Ganesh Persaud, 29, of No.2 Village, East Canje, Berbice.  His body was discovered earlier in the day by two brothers attached to Gumair airlines out of Suriname as the company joined in the search and rescue operation to help relatives who have been calling for assistance.

The pilots flew over the area where the attack reportedly occurred, looking for wreckage and bodies and spotted the body of Persaud on the banks of the river in an area named Zorg-en-Hoop.

The men then radioed in the coordinates to the maritime authorities and they retrieved the body while they continued the search. News Room was reliably informed by locals of Suriname that the team called in late in the afternoon and gave coordinates to pick up three other bodies.

As the news of the discovery spread, hundreds flocked to the dock in Waldrag Steiger hoping the authorities would bring the bodies there so they can get a glimpse and identify them.

As they await the arrival, they have been holding a candlelight vigil in honour of those that are now feared dead.

Fishermen convened at Waldrag Steiger for a candlelight vigil.

At the home of Ganesh Persaud, family members gathered together to mourn the loss of the father of two young children (aged 5 and 3) and his cousin Ralph Couchman, who is also feared dead. Both men left for Suriname in January.

For Persaud, this would have been a routine journey as he has been plying the trade since he was 14-years-old but for Couchman, this would have been his second in a year as he left seeking a better life.

The question on everyone’s mind is the motive behind the attack. Some speculate it may have something to do with the March 30, 2018 murder of an alleged pirate captain named Somnauth Mahonar called “Paddy,” the brother of the notorious pirate known as “Sinbad.”

According to one of the survivors, Darmendrew Persaud, when the men boarded the vessel they said their intention was to “kill.”

Persaud said the men fired shots in their direction and inflicted several chops about their bodies as well as hit them with a bamboo. Not satisfied, the men then tied them to the anchor, batteries and other heavy items and ordered them to jump overboard.

Those who refused to comply were chopped and thrown out forcefully. The boats were then destroyed after the catch and other valuables were looted.

At least one of the boats was recovered with the engine missing its “power pack” and other critical components – apparently, a measure to ensure the men had no way of returning to shore.

Miraculously, four have survived thus far to tell the tale of the brutal onslaught they endured at the hands of the men.

Persaud said the men tied a rope around his neck and attached the anchor to his neck, sinking him. However, as his hands were not tied, Persaud said he managed to release himself and later found a floating implement which he used to swim ashore.

The other persons who were identified as missing are: Vicky Persaud 23; Ramesh Sanchara, 51;  Ralph Anthony Couchman, 19; Glenroy Jones, 19; Tikaknauth Mohabir, 50; Randy Burnette, 19;  Bharat Heeralall; and Bobby Ibrahim.

On Wednesday, Guyana’s Police Commissioner (ag) David Ramnarine said that the Guyana Police Force is working closely with their Surinamese counterparts to find the pirates.

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