The April 2018 piracy attack off of Suriname which claimed the lives of at least 12 Guyanese was a well-organised operation as a result of a turf war over fishing grounds.

This was one of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the government and headed by Dr Rishee Thakur, according to a release today from the Ministry of the Presidency.

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Dr Thakur was speaking after the presentation of his report today on the inquiry to Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams.

On April 27th, 2018, four Guyanese boats, carrying a total of 20 persons, were attacked off the coast of Suriname. The perpetrators, reported to have been armed with guns and cutlasses, chopped and beat the fishermen before robbing them. Some of the men were ordered to jump overboard with their injuries, while others were thrown into the water with batteries strapped to their legs.

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Four men who survived the attack swam until they were rescued by passing vessels. Two weeks later, another survivor was found.

Those missing and presumed dead have been identified as Tilaknauth Mohabir, 50, also known as ‘Kai’; Ganesh Beharry; Ralph Anthony Couchman, 19, also known as ‘Burnham’; Ramesh Sancharra, 48; Glenroy Jones, 21; Ramnarine Singh; Bharat Heeralall, also known as “Record,” 49; Sunil, known as Poddock; Mahesh Sarjoo, 35; Rajkumar Bissessar; Randy Burnette; and Olenski Maxwell. Three other fishermen are still to be identified.

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One week later there was another attack out on the coast of the Matapica Canal, approximately eight miles from the mouth of the Paramaribo River, which claimed the life of Hardeo Beechan, called Ganesh, 32.

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Following the attacks, the police in Guyana had collaborated with their counterparts in Suriname and several arrests followed here.

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Among those held were Premnauth Persaud, also known as ‘Sinbad,’ and Nakool Manohar, also known as ‘Fyah,’ who were jointly charged in connection with the attacks.  They were jointly charged with the murder of Mohabir and Sarjoo.

The two have since been committed to stand trial in the High Court after a preliminary inquiry was completed in the magistrate’s court in Berbice.

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Alexander Denheart, 19, was also charged with the murder of Mohabir.

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