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5 pirates killed

By Nalinee Seelal Friday, August 7 2015

TWO Trinidadian fishermen, missing at sea since early July, are said to have been at the centre of a gun battle between members of the Venezuelan Coast Guard (Guardia Nacional) and a group of pirates, five of whom were killed in the shootout in Venezuelan waters last Sunday. Reports out of Venezuela indicate that security personnel involved in the action were looking for Trini fishermen Shawn Madoo and Vishal Ramlochan who were kidnapped in Venezuelan waters in early July.

The pirates, according to reports in Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional and the La Patilla website, attacked the Guardia Nacional with AK-47 gunfire last Sunday afternoon. The pirates killed were all Venezuelans and have been identified as Junior Alfredo Flores alias ‘Memin’, 31; Joel Angel Zabala nicknamed ‘Yoel’, 24; Javier Brito Cedeno, 26; Yeferson Jesus Rojas,20, and Jose Eduardo Barreto, alias ‘Antonio’ who was 23. All except Cedeno were said to have criminal records ranging from dealing in nuclear waste to possession of arms and illegal trafficking of fuel.

Sunday’s shooting, according to the Venezuelan media, arose from efforts by the Guardia Nacional to locate the two Trinis who were kidnapped in early July in Venezuelan maritime waters. The reports did not name the men, but said they remain in captivity yesterday after their five abductors were shot dead by the Guardia Nacional near the coastal village of Mapire.

The fishermen, whose ages were given as 25 and 28, are still being sought by Venezuelan police who are in the dark as to where they are being held since the five pirates were killed. A US$10,000 ransom was demanded for each kidnapped Trini.

Newsday was only able to verify that fishermen Madoo and Ramlochan set sail from Sea Lots on May 26, for Venezuela. Madoo’s last communication was with his wife Crystal. He called her and was able to say that they (Madoo and Ramlochan) were surrounded by a group of men, but she lost communication soon after. A report was made to the St Joseph police and the case was referred to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit.

Contacted yesterday, Crystal Madoo told Newsday that it has been three months since her husband disappeared and she has not received any information from the Venezuelan authorities or local police on the matter. She is hoping he is still alive. TT Coast Guard officials yesterday said there are several reports of Trinidadian fishermen missing in Venezuela but if the matter is a kidnapping it is a matter for the Anti-Kidnapping Unit.

According to the Venezuelan newspaper reports, the group the Guardia Nacional encountered was aboard a six metre long blue and orange boat, called Cimarron.
According to the news reports, the shootings occurred last Sunday afternoon in waters between the towns of Costa Mapire and Guiria.

The fishermen were said to have been attacked by pirates around a location known as Ducks Island, off the coast of Sucre state.

In the exchange of gunfire last Sunday between the Guardia Nacional and pirates, two officers were wounded, one seriously, having been struck by a bullet in the face.



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