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Police in Suriname have evacuated nearly eighty Brazilians and twenty Chinese from the town of Albina in the eastern part of the country, after Maroon inhabitants of Albina took to mass violence in response to the murder of another Maroon at the hands of a Brazilian immigrant. All evacuees have been brought to the capital town of Paramaribo, some 80 miles west from Albina.
A mob of approximately 500 angry Maroons descended down upon immigrants in Albina on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Businesses owned by Brazilians and Chinese were plundered and set afire, their owners, employees and customers beaten. Reports are circulating of at least twenty Brazilian prostitutes having been raped, and at least seven Brazilians having been murdered, although police have only yet confirmed one rape case and no murders of Brazilians. Thirteen Brazilians have been injured, seven of whom remain in serious condition. The victims have been taken to hospitals in Paramaribo and French-Guyana (Albina being a border town).
The riot followed after a dispute between two men, one a Brazilian, the other a Maroon, which ended with the fatal stabbing of the Maroon – the victim has been identified as 28-year old Wilson Apensa.
Police have apprehended eight suspects, among whom the Deputy Secretary for the District of Marowijne. He is accused of participating in beatings, plundering and arson.
Suriname is in shock over the incident. Tensions between Maroons and Brazilians have been building steadily over the past decade, stimulated by the rapid expansion of foreign gold mining industries on traditional Maroon territories and the influx of immigrant workers. Violent confrontations between Maroons and Brazilians have occurred before, although never on this scale.