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Masked gunmen kill male German visitor, injure another

Masked gunmen kill male German visitor, injure another


A German national has been killed and another injured after being attacked by two masked men aboard a yacht anchored on the Leeward side of the island.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday, March 4, at Wallilabou Bay, in which 49-year-old Martin Griff, an accountant{{more}} (who was travelling with his family) and the yacht’s German captain, 63-year-old Reinhold Zeller suffered gunshot wounds, after being attacked by two unknown assailants.

Griff succumbed to a gunshot wound to his throat, while Zeller was shot in his left shoulder.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has expressed deep sorrow at the incident – describing it as a “terrible stain” on St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking on a call-in programme on WE FM radio station last Friday afternoon, Gonsalves said: “I’ve seen the family… I’ve expressed to them our profound sorrow on behalf of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to say to them how sad we are at this event. They are in our thoughts, our prayers.”

He added: “This is a terrible, terrible stain on our country, and this criminal act by these two masked intruders – disturbing the tranquillity of persons on the yachts – it costs millions of dollars because we sell peace, security, tranquillity…

“Our people are not like this generally… We have some home-grown criminals and some from overseas… disturbing the peace and tranquillity of our country, and in this case using violence.”

Gonsalves further noted that one of the family members who speaks English relayed that the injured yacht captain had visited SVG previously on several occasions, and had assured the family that the multi-island nation was safe to travel to.

The Prime Minister said that this incident has “shattered” the peace and tranquillity that SVG is known for.

The family, despite this unfortunate incident, praised the local Coastguard for its swift response to the matter after receiving the call for help.

Gonsalves also said that he will be contacting the German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding the matter to express deep regret to the government that this incident occurred.

“We (Vincentians) are not like how these two intruders behaved…”

In correspondence received by the Prime Minister’s Office on March 7 from German Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Dr Lutz H Görgens, the incident was described as “tragic and gruesome,” and “as difficult to bear for Germans as they are for [Vincentians].”

Görgens expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves for reaching out personally to the deceased’s family and for arranging their departure from SVG back to Germany on that same day.

The letter also stated: “I wish the police force of St Vincent and the Grenadines success in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice as soon as possible. I also wish that the shared grief will contribute to further deepening the solidarity of our two nations in good and bad days.”

A post mortem is expected to be carried out on the deceased. (JSV)