2009 Albina, Suriname riots

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2009 Albina, Suriname riots
2009 Albina, Suriname riots is located in Suriname
2009 Albina, Suriname riots
Location of Albina within Suriname
LocationAlbina,  Suriname
DateDecember 24–25, 2009 (UTC-3)
InjuredAt least 24

The 2009 Albina, Suriname riots took place on December 24–25, 2009,[1] when local maroon inhabitants attacked Brazilian, Chinese, Colombian and Peruvian gold diggers after a man was allegedly stabbed to death by a Brazilian.[2]

One death has been confirmed by the local police authorities, but Roman Catholic Brazilian priest José Vergílio, which is aiding the victims, said that at least seven people died,[1][3] vehicles and houses were burned and stores owned by Chinese were plundered.[4] According to the Surinamese government, 20 women were raped, one of which was pregnant and lost her baby in the trauma.[1][5]

At least 24 people were injured during the riots.[6] The injured were transported to a military hospital, while the Brazilians living in Albina were transferred to Paramaribo.[6] Brazilians and Chinese living in the region have been evacuated.[3] According to eyewitnesses, 17 people are missing.[1]

The Brazilian government sent a diplomatic mission on December 27, 2009 to attend the Brazilian victims.[7] Five Brazilians returned to Brazil on December 27 on an airplane of the Brazilian Air Force.[8] On December 28, an airplane with capacity for 40 people was sent to the city with the purpose of rescuing more Brazilians.[8] The Surinamese government sent in troops to conduct searches and keep the peace, although violence is over by all accounts.[1] Suriname officials have come out saying they have the forces to protect all foreigners in the country and have already taken several people into custody for questioning.[1] 35 suspects were arrested on December 28, according to the city's chief of police, Krishna Mathoera-Hussainali.[8]


Albina is primarily a base for nomadic gold prospectors.[1] The town is made up of people from Suriname, neighboring French Guiana, the People's Republic of China and Brazil.[1]

There are between 15,000 and 18,000 Brazilian nomad gold diggers in Suriname, or about 4% of the total population of the country, most of them living illegally.[1] They are some of the poorest people in Brazil, mostly from the Northeast Region.[1]

Tensions in gold prospecting villages like Albina are not sporadic, but violence is quite uncommon.[1] Gold diggers often come in conflict with indigenous people in their search to find and extract gold from remote areas.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Elizondo, Gabriel (December 27, 2009). "Christmas violence in Suriname". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on December 31, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  2. ^ "Conflito no Suriname levou a pelo menos 7 mortes, diz missionário" (in Portuguese). G1 Globo.com. December 26, 2009. Archived from the original on December 31, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Priest: 7 migrants killed in Suriname violence". Washington Post. December 27, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2009.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Suriname reforça segurança após ataque a brasileiros" (in Portuguese). Estadão. December 28, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  5. ^ "Surinam sends troops to Albina". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. December 26, 2009. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Missão da FAB deve ir ao Suriname para prestar auxílio a brasileiros" (in Portuguese). G1 Globo.com. December 26, 2009. Archived from the original on December 30, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  7. ^ "Brasil envia missão diplomática ao Suriname para atender brasileiros atacados" (in Portuguese). December 27, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c "Suriname: detidos 35 suspeitos de agredir brasileiros" (in Portuguese). iG. December 28, 2009. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2009.

Coordinates: 5°30′N 54°03′W / 5.500°N 54.050°W / 5.500; -54.050