Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Years of turmoil in Suriname came to a close in 1992 when a newly elected government reached a peace agreement with the two largest guerrilla groups, the Surinamese Liberation Army and the Tucayana Amazonas to bring an end to a rebellion of the Maroons in the interior. Many of the rebels were descendants of African slaves who escaped in the 18th century from plantations in the former Dutch colony.

Only one of the several rebel groups from years back now seems to be happy with has happened since. The others want action.

So the four other former rebel groups are threatening with action if the peace agreement of 1992 is not fairly implemented.

They are threatening to paralyse the economy if their demands are not met.

"We are fed up with the (way things are going)," says Frederick Finisie, former parliamentarian and spokesman of the group Angula.

The following is from Caribbean Net News.

Former armed groups urge Suriname government to implement 1992 peace agreement

PARAMARIBO: Hinting at possible unrest, several former armed groups are urging the Suriname government to fully implement the 1992 Peace Agreement, which ended an eight year rebellion against the government.

Claiming that the government is only looking after the interest of one particular former rebel group the other former insurgent groups formed a union to advance their agenda. According to spokesman Frederik Finisie a former member of parliament the former rebel organizations Angula, Toekajana Amazone, Mandela and Kofimaka represent over 700 former combatants.

By joining forces the union is aiming at a speedy implementation of the peace accord. The former rebels insist that 16 years after the signing of the agreement not much of the agreement have been implemented by the government.

They also claim that the government is only paying attention to issues that are being presented by members of the former Jungle Commando, of which former rebel leader Ronnie Brunswijk is currently one of the coalition leaders.

The former combatants claim that the government promised jobs, medical care and social security but never kept its end of the deal.

“But we are not specifically after government jobs,” Finisie said.

The groups are pressing for forestry concessions and other facilities to become independent breadwinners for their families.

“As soon as you apply for a concession or a piece of land your application is being turned down if you’re not a supporter of this government,” he further noted.

President Ronald Venetiaan, however, countered, saying that most of the agreed aspects in the peace accord have been implemented. The Head of State further warned that the government will not always sit idly by while individuals barricade roads whenever they please.

Several weeks earlier the former Jungle Commando barricaded the highway to Albina near the French Guiana border.

Oriana Trameh, representative of the Toekajana Amazone, stated that the groups are tired of waiting and are prepared to paralyze the country’s economy if their demands are not met.

Although the groups uttered strong words against the government during a press conference to announce their cooperation, they are still open to dialogue. According to the former rebels, numerous letters to the government have so far gone unanswered.

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