Arrests in high seas mass murder case

Guyanese police Friday said they have arrested the brother of a local fishing boat captain who was killed in neighboring Suriname last month to determine if there is a link to last week’s high seas attack off the coast of neighboring Suriname that left more than a dozen crewmen either dead or missing.

Divisional Commander Lyndon Alves confirmed the arrest of Nakool “Fyah” Manohar on the Corentyne coast in in southeastern Berbice County on Thursday. He is the prime suspect and is known to be a major figure in the fishing sector on the coast, across the border river from Suriname and about 90 miles from Guyana’s capital, Georgetown.

Alves said detectives are trying to confirm suspicions as to whether the attack on five fishing vessels off the Surinamese coast last week Friday might have been revenge mass murders for the death of Manohar’s brother, Somnauth. The brother was a fishing boat captain in Suriname. Most of the small fishing vessels in Suriname are crewed by Guyanese fishermen.

Somnauth was killed in Suriname at the end of March. Alves said “that death was not reported to us, but we are told by police in Suriname that all this might be because of the death of the brother. Detectives are on the case. We have three people in custody. All are close to Nakool Manohar,” he said.

So far, five crewmen survived the ordeal in waters southeast of the Surinamese capital, Paramaribo, including one who miraculously turned up in a semi conscious state on Thursday. Police say he had walked without food for five days through swampland before reaching help. He is in intensive care in a Surinamese hospital. Most of them have given names of their attackers to police on both sides of the Corentyne River, hence the arrests of the three.

Guyanese authorities have not so far sent any search aircraft or vessels to assist with the search for bodies or survivors, saying they have left it to counterparts in the neighboring South American nation.

Guyanese President David Granger meanwhile, said authorities “are deeply grieved by the tragedy. Clearly some Guyanese have been victims, and we are in touch with Surinamese government and also the Surinamese police authorities and our police in the ‘B’ Division, which is the East Berbice Corentyne Division, are in touch with the families and we plan to observe formal mourning. It is a massacre, it is a great tragedy,” Granger told reporters Thursday night.

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