‘Crackhead’ arrested in deadly pirate attack

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Police have arrested the main suspect in the “massacre” of 15 Guyanese fishermen off the coast of Suriname just over a week ago in what authorities are treating as a revenge attack in a bitter feud among Guyanese fishermen.

“This whole episode is basically murder of the most gruesome circumstances,” said Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Security.

He was speaking with the News Room in Paramaribo, Suriname where he is meeting with the relatives of the victims and hoping for greater cooperation with the Surinamese authorities to solve the crime.

The suspect, known as “Crackhead,” is said to have been among the first groups of suspects who were named by survivors of the April 27 attack which occurred near the Surinamese border with French Guiana. He was nabbed by Guyanese fishermen in Paramaribo and handed over to authorities.

“Where the investigation seems to be directing,” Ramjattan stated, “is Guyanese who wanted to retaliate.”

Four boats with five crew members each were on the high seas when they were attacked by the gang over what Ramjattan said was suspected “vexations” among the Guyanese fishermen.

One of the survivors, Sherwin Lovell, said the men first poured hot oil on them, then spilled gasoline on them. They were then ordered to empty their catch and then confine themselves into the holding area for the catch where they were then chopped about their bodies.

Some of the men were then bound with batteries and other heavy objects and hurled overboard.

Anitadevie Soeberdar, whose husband Ramnarine Singh is missing, said she heard from survivors that her husband was tied with a rope and bound with three of his crew members and hurled overboard.

Before he could be bound, Lovell said he jumped overboard and after spending close to 48 hours at sea, he drifted with the tide to the shore where he called Police with the help of a passer-by.

“Thank God there are some survivors that managed to tell the tale as to what happened,” Ramjattan stated.

Of the 20 men attacked, five survived and thus far three bodies have been recovered. The other 15 men are feared dead.

While the bodies are in a state where they could be identified by relatives, Surinamese authorities have insisted on DNA testing and this has further compounded the agony for families who are seeking closure.

Ramjattan Sunday morning met with the relatives of the victims and has urged them to speak up and give the authorities whatever information they may have regarding threats by the fishermen so that the “loose ends could be tied up.”

It is generally believed that the attack was one of reprisal over the alleged murder of a man connected to a prominent Guyanese who owns dozens of fishing boats in Guyana and Suriname.

“We have our theories,” Ramjattan asserted, noting that the Guyanese arrested in Guyana are being held beyond the statutory 72 hours without being charged because authorities “feel strongly they may be involved” but “need evidence.”

Ramjattan said he was in Suriname to meet with Police and other security officials to boost cooperation.

“When crimes of an international nature like this happen, whereby you may have Guyanese operatives and Guyanese victims in Surinamese waters, we need to collaborate,” Ramjattan stated.

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