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Suriname Identifies 18 Men Who Beat Up and Raped Brazilians

Brazilian attacked in Suriname Suriname authorities say they have identified 18 men who led the aggression against Brazilian two weeks after the violent attacks, which were also directed against Chinese and Javanese in the town of Albina. The attackers are members of an ethnic group known as maroons who are descendants of African slaves.

Local officials say many of the leaders of the attack have criminal records and that it was an isolated occurrence and that there is no danger of more attacks. They say they are doing everything possible to ensure there are no more problems.

The Brazilian ambassador in Suriname, José Luiz Machado e Costa, says that the embassy is doing three things: giving victims of the attack assistance, helping the Brazilians get documents (most of them are in Suriname illegally) and informing them about Suriname culture.

“Most of the Brazilians who come here have absolutely no knowledge of what this country is. It is multiethnic and speaks an entirely different language. In order to live in Suriname peacefully one has to understand Suriname,” said the ambassador.

Brazilians and maroons have always had a tense relationship. Both groups are interested in making a living doing the same thing – prospecting for Gold in the jungle. There are an estimated 18,000 Brazilians in Suriname.

The maroons make Brazilians pay a tax to live and work there. The Brazilians go to Suriname to earn money doing hard work, save a little and, eventually, when they are ready, return to Brazil. The ambassador says it is rare for a Brazilian to ask for help in order to return to Brazil.

The Christmas Eve attack by some 300 maroons destroyed a supermarket (owned by a Chinese where most of the employees were Brazilian), the only store where money could be changed and the main gas station in Albina.

About 100 Brazilians were left homeless; 25 men and 17 women were injured. At least three of the women were raped. According to the embassy, only 37 of the Brazilians have decided to return to Brazil.



  • Show Comments (1)

  • Jeanette Lenoir

    My thoughts.
    It’s unfortunate that things turned deadly and tragic in Albina.

    However, I believe the Brazilian Ambassador is right…one has to understand and respect the Surinamese culture in order to live there peacefully. Here’s a start for those who write articles or stories about Suriname: Change how you refer to the Indigenous Peoples of the interior. The term Maroon is a derogatory and offensive term that should not be used. I take great offense to that word considering its original meaning, (run-away cattle/livestock).

    There are several Indigenous Peoples groups in the interior of Suriname. The Paramacca People; the Saramacca People are just two of the main ones…If you want to speak of them as a whole then the term “Indigenous Peoples” is appropriate—NOT MAROONS! The writer of this article clearly has not done the due diligence to try to respectfully identify the people of Suriname. Renata Giraldi, I consider you to be rude and offensive. If your aim is to inform then do so! But be adequate. Using the term Maroon is not informative. It’s offensive and it does not tell your reader which tribe or ethic group the offenders came from. You sound like a lazy and racists journalist whose sole aim is to write an article that favors the Brazilians side of this unnecessary fight in Albina. Keep in mind, the first person killed was a member of one of the Indigenous Peoples by a Brazilian who is living and working in the country illegally. What followed was retaliation for that killing and the Brazilians lost the fight. I don’t condone violence—but what makes you think your people can come to Suriname illegally—take away the peoples riches from the areas natural resources—kill one of their own and not expect a backlash? Have respect and come correct because the Surinamese people are some of the kindest and most generous people on the planet. Just don’t take their kindness for weakness. And most importantly have some respect when you write about them. Take the time to learn what terms are appropriate and what’s not.

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