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Monday, September 02, 2002
East Coast terror reign--

A man is searched by members of a Police patrol at the corner of Gale Street and Market Road, Annandale yesterday.

The business premises of Basil Singh at the corner of Gale Street and Market Road, Annandale, East Coast Demerara. The owner greeted a gunman with gunfire. The gunman quickly fled.
Alert Annandale residents chase suspicious youths
FOLLOWING last Friday's terror attack in a section of Annandale, East Coast Demerara, residents yesterday chased two suspicious looking youths, believed to be armed, out of the area.

The youths were riding on two bicycles shortly after noon yesterday in the very area where Friday's terror attacks were carried out. The manner and appearance of the men raised the suspicions of the residents and they responded immediately.

Two licensed firearm holders discharged a couple of rounds in the air while another resident threw his bicycle on one of the suspicious youths, knocking him off his bicycle. The youth then quickly got off the ground and, minus his bicycle and one of his slippers, sprinted down a road, which leads into Buxton. His partner also took the same route, but on bicycle.

A Police patrol vehicle, which arrived on the scene shortly, picked up the lad’s bicycle, which had been damaged by the angry residents, and carried it to the Vigilance Police Station.

Residents told this newspaper that they believed the youths were armed since the impression of a gun was visible on each of their persons. A businessman, who had been following the young men, decided to discharge a round in the air. He was immediately joined by another businessman, who also discharged a shot in the air. By this time, a number of villagers gathered on the scene and attempted to hold the intruders.

According to one resident, when the businessmen fired off the shots, one of the youths was overheard telling the other, “Duck! Duck!” It was at this moment that one villager threw his bicycle on the youth.

Meanwhile, a lone gunman posing as a customer attacked businessman, Mr. Basil Singh at his general store located at the corner of Gale Street and Market Road, Annandale on Saturday afternoon. But the gunman’s robbery bid was foiled, when the businessman, a licensed firearm holder, surprised the criminal.

Singh told the Chronicle that he was sitting at his desk behind the counter, "when a gentleman approached me with a shopping list" and requested to purchase the items on the list. The man then opened a small bag he was carrying and whipped out a gun, Singh said.

"He pointed the gun straight at me and told me not to move and to put all the money that I have in the bag," the businessman related.

Singh said he then reached for his gun and surprised the bandit by discharging a shot in the man’s direction. He said the man immediately turned and fled the scene on foot.

He recalled that on Friday the marauding youths in Gale Street had tried to attack his business premises during the same rampage. Some of the youths started rocking the iron gate trying to gain entry into his premises. When they realised that they could not gain access to the property, they left, he said.

Singh also noted that residents are now strongly contemplating having a vibrant and effective vigilante and Policing Group such as the one in Enmore, another East Coast Demerara Village.

There was an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty throughout the Gale Street area and in other parts of Annandale when this newspaper visited yesterday.

The area was in a state of terror last Friday afternoon when a marauding band of over 40 armed youths from neighbouring Buxton swarmed the village in broad daylight. They attacked, beat, robbed and molested dozens of residents.



The traumatised residents told the Chronicle on Saturday that between 16:30 and 17:00 hours Friday, a band of youths aged between 14 and 18 years of age and brandishing guns, choppers and knives, invaded the village and then dispersed into groups of about four persons each.

They immediately proceeded to barge into homes, attacking and robbing occupants. Adults and children who were on the streets were also molested and robbed of as little as $200, residents said.

The reign of terror which lasted about 30 minutes, ended when a businessman in the village switched on his alarm and a group of residents, a licensed firearm holder among them, banded themselves to confront the marauding gang.

The firearm holder discharged several rounds in the air.

The gang was apparently surprised by the sound of gunfire coming from the residents, and quickly left the scene. Police arrived about 45 minutes after the mob left the village, residents said.

The Friday afternoon attack on Annandale followed the early Wednesday morning rampage by a gang of bandits at Non Pariel, also on the East Coast.

The gang terrorised and robbed several families, fleeing with jewelry, cash and household appliances. Residents said the men escaped in the direction of the Railway Embankment road where a car was waiting for them.

They said the ten attackers were unmasked and heavily armed men, who reportedly sexually assaulted two young women and set alight a bereaved man during a wake he was hosting for his deceased wife.