Marines capture Grenadian deputy prime minister


ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada, Oct. 29, 1983 (UPI) - U.S. Marines Saturday captured Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, who was suspected of engineering the bloody coup that led to the U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island, where American troops searched for up to 500 Cuban soldiers thought to be hiding in the hills.

U.S. officials said Coard, 39, was captured about 10:30 a.m. EDT about 1 mile north of St. George's, the Grenadian capital.


Marine Capt. David C. Karcher, whose patrol captured Coard, said the Grenadian leader had been hiding in a house in the hamlet of Radex since the invasion of the Marxist-led island Tuesday. He surrendered peacefully.

In Washington, the Pentagon raised the number of Americans wounded in the 5-day-old operation from 67 to 76. It said the number killed remained at 11 and the number of missing at seven.

U.S. officials said American forces have killed 36 Cuban and Grenadian troops and wounded 56 since the invasion began. No civilians were reported killed in the fighting involving about 6,000 U.S. troops.


A new Cuban outpost complete with air strip, fortifications and anti-aircraft guns has been discovered on the tiny island of Carriacou north of Grenada, CBS News reported Saturday quoting informed sources.

A spokesman for the Pentagon said it had no information on any such Cuban bastion.

When the jeep carrying Coard entered St. George's, more than 50 Grenadians surrounded it and started screaming at the hardline Marxist deputy prime minister, unpopular on the island because of his reputation for ruthlessness.

''The people told us to give him to them,'' Karcher said. ''They said they wanted to hack him to pieces. We had to keep them away.''

Coard is believed by Western diplomats to have led the Oct. 12 coup that ended in the assassination of Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, 39.

Besides Coard, the Marines captured his wife, Phyllis, and Lt. Col. Liam James, a member of Grenada's Revolutionary Military Council, which took control of the 133-square-mile island nation 1,900 miles south of Miami after the execution of Bishop on Oct. 19.

Also arrested were Information and Mobilization Minister Selwyn Strachan and two other people who were not immediately identified, Karcher said.

Coard and the others were taken to the capital and placed on a military helicopter flight, the Marine captain said. Their destination was not known.


Vice Adm. Joseph Metcalf, commander of the U.S. invasion Task Force 120 on Grenada, also said Grenadian civilians tipped American forces to the probable hiding place of Gen. Hudson Austin, commander of the pro-Cuban country's military council.

The civilians told U.S. troops that Austin was believed to be holding at least two hostages, including a foreigner, the U.S. commander said.

The exact location of Austin's suspected hiding place was not known, but American officials said they were trying to narrow down the possibilities.

American troops in Grenada have captured a strategic army barracks where Cuban and Grenadian diehards were holding out and pressed on with the hunt for up to 500 more Cuban soldiers hiding in the hills, U.S. officials said Saturday in Bridgetown, Barbados.

How long the 5,000 Army and 900 Marine troops remain in Grenada ''is really a function of how long the Cubans want to fight,'' Metcalf said. ''What we are trying to do is keep them on the move. We are looking for a situation to drive them into the woods. They'll get hungry and come out.''

Cuba denied there were 500 of its soldiers still uncaptured in Grenada.

Units of the American soldiers on the island captured the Calivigny barracks stronghold late Thursday after overcoming ''heavy resistance,'' the Pentagon said in a delayed report.


The stage for Grenada's invasion was set Oct. 12, when hardline members of his New Jewel Movement placed Bishop under house arrest.

Cuban-trained soldiers executed Bishop and five of his top aides when a crowd of more than 3,000 freed the prime minister from house arrest.

''The United States is saying that there around 500 Cubans fighting in the mountains. It is a lie,'' Cuba's ambassador to Barbados, Ivan Cesar Martinez, told reporters in Bridgetown Saturday.

He said there were 638 Cubans in U.S. custody in Grenada and another 85 at the Cuban Embassy in St. George's. ''Perhaps a very tiny number of five, six or seven went into the mountains,'' Martinez said.

The claim that up to 500 more Cubans were in the mountains was made Friday by Metcalf, the U.S. vice admiral.

''Grenadian opposition has collapsed. They cut and ran,'' Metcalf said. ''The Cubans are the ones that stood their ground and made it difficult.''

Metcalf said his troops were still coming under sniper fire and the Cubans were retreating north into the forested mountains that make up most of Grenada.

He said the seven-nation U.S. and Caribbean invasion force controlled the island's two airports at Point Salines and Pearls and the capital city of St. George's.


A brief burst of sniper fire erupted Saturday while journalists were inspecting five warehouses loaded with military equipment near the Cuban-built Point Salines airport 8 miles south of St. Georges. There were no injuries.

Several bullets struck the ground near an army gun emplacement, sending everyone scrambling for cover. An army patrol was sent up the hillside to comb the bushes and Cobra helicopter gunships were called in to help in the search.

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