PARAMARIBO, Suriname, CMC – The Suriname government is holding an emergency meeting on Saturday with security officials after an attempt had been made on Friday night to blow up the courthouse in the capital.
The authorities said persons threw explosives at the building and gunshots were also fired at the building. They said the explosives did not explode and that two security guards, who were in the courthouse when the attack took place at around 10.30 pm, escaped unhurt.
The Government has since announced that an emergency meeting with the security authorities will take place on Saturday morning, after which Acting President Ronnie Brunswijk will hold a news conference to inform the population about the situation.
President Chandrikapersad Santokhi is due back in the island on Monday, after travelling to India where he attended the India International Diaspora Conference.
CCTV footage showed two men on a motorcycle entering the courthouse area. One of them got off and a bag containing the explosives was thrown onto the steps of the building. The man then fired at the building with an automatic weapon, after which they rode away.
Photos that have since gone viral on social media show an RPG grenade, to which a hand grenade is attached with tape as a detonator.
Several bullet holes shattered windows of the building were also shown.
The authorities said several shell cases have been found at the crime scene and the bomb squad has been called in to remove the explosives. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as the police and the Forensic Investigation Department as well as other security agencies continue their investigations.
It is not known whether the attack on the courthouse is linked to the appeal case that began last week against former president Desi Bouterse and four other ex-servicemen suspected of the murder of 15 political opponents of Bouterse in December 1982.
On December 7, 1982, the 15 men were arrested by order of Bouterse, who was head of government at the time after he came to power in a military coup in February 1980, and taken to Fort Zeelandia, the former headquarters of the Surinamese National Army. The detainees were then summarily executed by the military because they were allegedly involved in a coup to overthrow Bouterse’s government.
In November 2019, Bouterse and the four other ex-servicemen were
sentenced by a Military Court to prison terms ranging from 10 to 20 years. As
the main suspect, Bouterse was sentenced to 20 years.
But they have all appealed against the sentences with the Public Prosecution Service expected to hold a hearing on January 31.