June 25, 2008

Guyana Human Rights Group Urges Probe into Massacre of Miners

Text of report by Caribbean Media Corporation news agency website on 25 June

Georgetown, Guyana: The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) Wednesday called for an independent investigation into the murder of eight diamond miners at Lindo Creek near the Berbice River.

The GHRA said it remains sceptical about explanations given for the death of the men, whose skulls were found in a burnt out camp last week.

"Unlike the bereaved in earlier atrocities, families of the miners do not have bodies to bury. The current priority is to grieve with the families and, for this reason, the society should do whatever it can to help them live with their loss," the GHRA said in a statement.

It said "an important part of this process will be a full and believable account of how their loved ones met their deaths".

"In this respect, the Guyana Human Rights Association joins its voice to those calling for a full and independent inquiry free from self-interest of any de scri ption.

"The cruelty which accompanied these killings points to a level of depravity which matches that demonstrated in earlier massacres, thereby reinforcing a sentiment expressed by the GHRA at the time of the Lusignan massacre, namely that the society is learning to live in denial of wanton cruelty and developing an unwholesome ability to absorb atrocities," the release added.

Earlier this year, unidentified gunmen killed at least 23 people in two separate incidents at Lusignan and in the small mining town of Bartica. The authorities have blamed the killings on the gang operated by the country's most wanted criminal, Rondell 'Fineman' Rawlins.

On Tuesday, the owner of the mine, Leonard Arokium, repeated an earlier statement that the killing of his workers could not have been the work of Rawlins' gang.

Originally published by Caribbean Media Corporation news agency website, Bridgetown, in English 2030 25 Jun 08.

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