Five people arrested for stealing 46 weapons from home of Surinamese ex-president
Five people, including one police officer, were taken into custody for stealing 46 heavy weapons from the home of former Surinamese President Desi Bouterse, local media reported on Saturday. The weapons disappeared from Bouterse’s residence on June 23.
According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM), three Steyr rifles, two heavy machine guns, two grenade launchers, 25 AK-47 rifles, a machine gun, five carbines, six Taurus pistols and a Browning pistol were reported stolen along with ammunition.
Bouterse was questioned on Thursday and will be interrogated again on Monday. Members of the Surinamese army were also brought in for questioning.
It was not clear why Bouterse had the heavy weapons. In the media, there were speculations as to the reason behind their disappearance. Editor-in-chief of Starnieuws Nita Ramacharan said she believes there is a connection between the disappearance of the weapons and the suicide of Bouterse’s grandson one week earlier.
“Did the commander, the Ministry of Defense, the intelligence services, the vice president and the president know there were dozens of heavy weapons at the ex-president’s home? Why were those weapons still there?”, she questioned.
The investigation was led by a team from the OM, police and military police. Surinamese President Chan Santokhi also alarmed Interpol.
Bouterse was president of Suriname from 2010 to 2020. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 for his involvement in the December murders in 1982 when 15 opposition figures were tortured and murdered. The former president appealed the sentence. A new ruling will be issued on August 30.