Army rebels toppled the democratic government of Surinam Prime Minister Henck Arron Monday in a swift coup in which at least four persons were killed. The insurgent noncommissioned Army officers took control of Paramaribo, capital city of the former Dutch colony of 400,000 in northeastern South America , but no statement has been made as to what they plan to do, one eyewitness said. The whereabouts of Prime Minister Arron were unknown. Surinam President Johan Ferrier was in his home and was not under arrest. Businesses were closed downtown and the city was calm after the early-morning skirmish, according to one source.
Observers in The Hague said the revolt centered more on military wages than political issues. Leaders of the Army union had been complaining over the salary for 50 recruits who enlisted two years ago and were never given regular soldier status. Between 100 and 300 soldiers were apparently involved in the coup. The Surinam Army numbers around 1,000.