Paramaribo: Police and troops on Christmas Day put down a riot and looting rampage in Albina, a Surinamese town bordering French Guiana, in violence which wounded 13 people, a government minister said.
The riots were sparked by the death on Thursday of a resident stabbed by a Brazilian suspect, now in custody, said Justice and Police Minister Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
He told a news conference between 100 and 500 people looted a shopping mall and other stores. They also seized the safe of a gold retailer.
At least 80 frightened residents sought refuge in an army barracks.
Albina, a town of about 5,000 people, is the main crossing point to the French territory of French Guiana.
Firemen from Saint Laurent du Maroni, the town on the French side, helped extinguish the fires.
Tensions have brewed in Albina between Brazilian gold prospectors and native Surinamese, including Amerindians, who have a high unemployment rate.
A former Dutch colony which won independence in 1975, Suriname has about half a million people.
First Published: Saturday, December 26, 2009, 13:03