Probe into BASS killings completed
Stabroek News
September 17, 2001

The investigation into the killings by Berbice Anti-Smuggling Squad (BASS) operatives on August 14 and 17, is all but complete, according to Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj.

He told Stabroek News on Saturday that the report had been completed and the file was being put together for transmission to the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice.

Gajraj could not say whether the results of the private post-mortem conducted on the bodies of the persons killed on August 14, was submitted to the Police. He said that the Police did not witness the examination as the families of the deceased claimed that the bodies had been handed over to them and as such they were free to do as they please.

They commissioned the second post-mortem after they were dissatisfied with the causes of death listed in the report of the first examination.

Gajraj said too that the inquiries into the killings by police of three men on Mandela Avenue was moving slowly as difficulties were being experienced in having people who witnessed the incident come forward to give statements.

President Bharrat Jagdeo ordered the investigation into the shooting by the BASS operatives of Azad Bacchus, his fifteen year-old son, Shazaah and his eighteen-year-old nephew Fadil Ally on August 14, and Steven Angel and Saif Ghani om August 17.

The Police report of the August 14 incident differed from the report of the Bacchus family and other eyewitnesses. The Police report said that they were killed in a shoot-out but the Bacchus family's claim that they were alive when the BASS operatives took them from their residence after chasing them from the hospital, where Shazaah and Fadil had been taken.

President Jagdeo said that a coroner's inquest would be held into the deaths of the Mandela Three who were killed by the Target Special Squad on July 26, after they had been cornered after a chase during which they shot at the Police. However, eyewitnesses told Stabroek News that two of the three were shot after being ordered to lie face down in the street; and the third was killed after being ordered to stand against a roadside stall.