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By Wendella Davidson, Shirley Thomas and Joe Chapman

THE bodies being taken from the Mackenzie Hospital to a city morgue

ABOUT eight heavily-armed bandits, dressed in black, yesterday ambushed a Mekdeci Mining Company (MMC) security vehicle in which four guards were escorting toll collected from a river bridge crossing, killing two of them and wounding the other two, police and company officials said.

MMC senior official, retired Colonel Carl Morgan, told the Guyana Chronicle by telephone, the incident occurred about 12:00 h yesterday while the men were on their way to the city and in the vicinity of the Sheribana Bridge in the Essequibo River.

He said the men were travelling from Sherima, a location also on the Essequibo, with the money which represented toll collection from those using the bridge.

Colonel Morgan was, however, reluctant to disclose the identity of the dead men and those who were wounded in the ambush, until, according to him, their relatives were informed.

Police named the two dead as security guards Warren Hutson and Rodwell Clarke and the two injured as security guard Glenmore Reeves, 47, of Tucville and Dalton Walcott, 28, of Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara. Clarke was hit in the head and Walcott in the left arm, and are patients at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GHP), police said.

Police in a press release said the four MMC security guards had collected the money in three canisters at Sherima and were travelling to Georgetown in their vehicle when they came under fire from the eight bandits at the Sheribana Bridge area.

The bandits took away the canisters with the cash and the four shotguns carried by the MMC security team and escaped from the scene, police said.

The vehicle was found abandoned about two miles away and police suspect the armed gang may have used the waterways to continue their escape, the release added.

Police ranks from Bartica and Linden who, upon receiving the report travelled to the area, are reportedly combing the area for any clues that may lead to the arrest of the gang.

Roadblocks have been established at strategic locations as investigations continue.

Survivor Glenmore Reeves, of Tucville Squatting area in Georgetown, related that around noon yesterday the MMC vehicle escorting cash for a Mekdeci company along the Wismar/Rockstone trail, en route to Happy Acres, East Coast Demerara, was ambushed by about eight to nine heavily armed men who advanced towards the security vehicle, accosted the occupants and demanded cash.

At the hospital he told nurses, there were four persons: Clarke, Walcott, Hutson and himself. He, Clarke and Hutson were MMC employees, and Walcott was said to be a Lance Corporal of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

The bandits, all dressed in black, and armed with AK-47 weapons, were apparently lurking in the bushes along the roadside, and as the security vehicle drove up, they advanced and opened fire on the men in a shootout that lasted several minutes, Reeves related.

He was hit several times, sustained bullet wounds to the head, groin and hip. One of the bullets which entered the groin, reportedly exited through the scrotum.

He related that as the drama unfolded, he threw himself down, bleeding and in excruciating pain, pretending to be dead, but never lost consciousness.

At the end of the ordeal, two of the MCC guards lay bullet-riddled and dead, while the GDF rank lay bleeding and appeared to be unconscious. Reeves could not say what eventually happened to Walcott.

The bandits, thinking he (Reeves) was dead, turned their attention from him and fled with the cash from the vehicle.

The survivor told nurses that even after the men had gone, he was so badly wounded and unable to move that he remained there for about two hours, writhing in pain, until he eventually mustered up sufficient strength to climb back into the vehicle and drive off.

Reeves said he managed to drive the vehicle for six miles, and eventually came upon a truck heading into the interior.

He stopped the truck and related his sad experience. The driver took him on board, and transported him to the Linden Hospital.

It was 14:00 h when the truck arrived at the Linden Hospital with the badly wounded survivor.


SHARON Hutson, mother of Warren Hutson, at the Mackenzie Hospital yesterday

Hutsonís mother, Sharon Hutson, of Crabwood Street, Mackenzie, Linden, was crying uncontrollably when she visited the Mackenzie Hospital as the bodies of the dead men were being taken for a doctor to formally pronounce them dead.

She said she had heard from her son the night before and he had told her he was going into the 'back dam' yesterday. But she could not understand how he had not visited her up to late yesterday as it was unusual for him to pass through Linden without dropping by to see her.

She said her son would call her every night to speak with her.

She said she got news of the attack around 14:30 h when the mother of Warren called.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007