Duo found guilty over 2018 deadly piracy attack

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Nakool Manohar and Premnauth Persaud

Two men who were charged in connection with a 2018 piracy attack that had left five fishermen dead have been found guilty by a 12-member jury in the Berbice High Court.

One of these two men is 47-year-old Premnauth Persaud, also known as “Sand Bat”, of Cromarty Village, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). He was indicted on five counts of the capital offence of murder, but had pleaded not guilty.

It is alleged that between April 14 and June 3, 2018, Premnauth Persaud murdered Bandara (only name given), called “Spanish Man” or “Dora”; Lalta Sumair, called “Bora” or “Puduck”; and Lokesh De Couite. The murders are alleged to have been committed on board the vessel Joshua SK 1418, which was under attack during the piracy incident.

Premnauth Persaud was also accused of murdering Mahesh Sarjoo, called “Kuba” or “Vishal”; and Tilaknauth Mohabir, called “Camion” or “Kaimon”, “Pollom” or “Palam,” and “Cold Record”, between April 14 and June 3, 2018 on board the vessel Romina SK 764, which was under attack during the incident of piracy.

The other man implicated in this incident of piracy is 43-year-old Nakool Manohar, called “Fyah”, of Number 43 Village, Corentyne, Berbice. He has been indicted on two charges which allege that, between the aforementioned dates, he counselled, procured and commanded Persaud and others unknown to murder the five fishermen.

Like Premnauth Persaud, Nakool Manohar had pleaded not guilty.

Justice Navindra Singh, who presided over this matter, has since ordered a probation report and has deferred sentencing for both men to January 16, 2023.

Aside from these five fishermen, 15 others are still missing and are considered dead. According to reports, the piracy attack reportedly stemmed from the execution-style killing of Somnath Manohar, who was gunned down on March 30, 2018 in Suriname. As a result of Somnath Manohar’s death, his brother Nakool Manohar had travelled to Suriname and had offered US$50,000 to the pirate gang, allegedly headed by Persaud, to take revenge for his brother’s death.

The badly decomposed remains of the fishermen were discovered in Surinamese waters, and Police had to rely on DNA testing to properly identify them.