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The village was the scene of the Moiwana massacre on November 29, 1986, during the Suriname Guerrilla War between the Surinamese military regime, headed by Dési Bouterse and the Jungle Commando led by Ronnie Brunswijk. The army attacked the village, killing at least 35 of the inhabitants, mostly women and children, and burning the house of Ronnie Brunswijk. The survivors fled with thousands of other inland inhabitants over the Marowijne river to neighbouring French Guiana.
A chief inspector of the police, Herman Gooding, was murdered in August 1990 while carrying out an investigation of the massacre. Reportedly he was forced out of his car near Fort Zeelandia and shot in the head, with his body left outside the office of Desi Bouterse. Other police investigators fled the country, stalling the investigation.
The government has stated that it is still continuing its investigation of the massacre, but that prospective witnesses had either moved, died or were uncooperative. It has also said that an investigation of the murder of Herman Gooding was continuing.
In August 2005, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered Suriname to pay 3 million USD in compensation to 130 survivors of the massacre, and to establish a 1.2 million USD fund for the development of Moiwana.
- UN Human Rights Committee press release; Eightieth Session 2173rd Meeting (PM)
- Amnesty International report on Suriname
- Suriname's govt to apologise for 1986 massacre (14 July 2006)
- Rainforest Warriors (book including information on Moiwana Massacre)
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