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Friday, 05 October 2012 15:57

Two GIPM members drowned at Sept-Cascades, Inspector Sookur arrested

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Nitish Kumar Binda aged 22 and his colleague Louis Sylvestre Nanon aged 24 drowned in a lake at the foot of the fourth waterfall at Tamarin Falls, Henrietta last Saturday. The tragedy happened during a training session in which seven officers of the Groupement d’Intervention de la Police Mauricienne (GIPM) participated.
According to official sources, Sylvestre Nanon who was sitting on a rock near the lake took off his shoes and then lost his balance when he got up, falling in the lake. Nitish Binda, his colleague who is also a life guard, finding Nanon in difficulty, jumped to his rescue but got into difficulty himself. Inspector Sookur allegedly threw a rope at them while other colleagues also jumped into the lake to save them. Nitish Binda had sunk and Sylvestre was clinging to him. Soon after, Inspector Sookur also jumped into the lake and dived seven metres deep but the two men had already disappeared in the muddy water.

A Special Mobile Force team was urgently summoned as well as the police helicopter. After one hour, the body of Sylvestre Nanon was fished out. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Nitish Kumar Binda’s body was re-opererated later. The funeral of the two young GIPM officers took place on Monday afternoon. Their families believe that the incident was due to a lack of supervision. Inspector Sookur told investigators that Sylvestre Nanon was taking a rest with his colleagues.

“Everything was fine. Suddenly I heard a big splash in the water. Then, it was a horrible scene that I witnessed. All the commandos took off their boots and jumped into the water to save Nanon. Binda was the first to do so. I jumped in this muddy water with another colleague to rescue them,” he told police. However, in his second statement recorded on Monday afternoon, Inspector Sookur revealed that Sylvestre Nanon was feeling pain in his ankles. “He was allowed to remove his bogies. He was sitting on the rock. When he got up barefoot, he slipped and fell into the water. His colleagues joked about his fall. Sylvestre Nanon was safe and sound at this precise moment…

I asked him to regain the shore. Sylvestre Nanon made some breaststroke movements but he found himself in difficulty. His mouth was open but he couldn’t call for help.” In a dramatic turn of events, Inspector Sookur was later arrested on Wednesday by officers of the Central Criminal Investigation Department (CCID). He has retained the services of Barrister Sanjeev Teeluckdharry. He was charged with involuntary homicide on Thursday at Curepipe Court. Police did not object to his release on bail. The other five officers of the GIPM who were present during the tragedy on Saturday, have also been questioned by investigators.

They indicated that Lieutenant Sookur had ordered them to “swim, touch the wall of the waterfall and come back.” This piece of information is in contradiction with the initial statement of the Inspector. In addition, a few minutes prior to his arrest, Sookur told the press that he had done everything to rescue the two young officers. This case is being closely monitored by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Sooroojebally.
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