Missing duo safe
Say they were kidnapped, taken to Bel Air house
Camouflage suits found at camp By Samantha Alleyne
Stabroek News
April 12, 2002

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The man and woman who were reported missing since Tuesday night, turned up yesterday saying that they were kidnapped by bandits and taken to an abandoned house in Bel Air from which they managed to escape.

Marceline Basdeo, 23, of 163, Leonora, West Coast Demerara, and Andre Ramphal, 48, of First Avenue, Subryanville and Managing Director of Anral Shipping Company, had been missing since Tuesday evening after they both attended a Latin dance class at the Hotel Tower. Basdeo's car was used in a foiled robbery in Section `K' Campbellville on Wednesday, while Ramphal's car was found locked in front of the hotel. On Wednesday there had been fears for their safety after heavily armed bandits attacked the Campbellville home.

A release from the Guyana Police Force yesterday simply said that the two persons had been "accounted for" but gave no details.

The police also said that they had arrested two men in a camp behind La Bonne Intention (LBI), Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara. The police said that one of the men was the brother of prison escapee, Andrew Douglas, and they were questioning the two.

The release said that the camp contained three hammocks, two camouflage suits, foodstuff and other items necessary for human existence.

The police questioned Ramphal and Basdeo extensively yesterday. Stabroek News has not been able to speak to either of them, but according to information received they told police they were kidnapped in front of the Hotel Tower.

According to sources, after their dancing class, Basdeo entered her car and four men suddenly approached her. The two were said to have told the police that the men were questioning the woman and upon seeing this, Ramphal, who was still in the hotel, approached them to enquire what the problem was.

It was reported that the men then placed a bag over the man's head and forced him into the car with the woman. They were both blindfolded and bound and driven around for about two hours before they were dragged out of the car into a building.

It was some time later that Ramphal managed to free himself and remove the blindfold to discover that they were in the washroom of an abandoned house in Bel Air.

Using his cellular phone, Ramphal contacted some relatives and fearing that the bandits might return went into hiding at the relatives' home. It has not been established how the two left the house, but reports said that they made contact with relatives at around midnight on Wednesday.

The two contacted the police yesterday morning and were taken to Eve Leary where up to late last night they were being extensively questioned by the law enforcement officers.

Basdeo had left home for her place of work on Tuesday morning and after her father, Edward Basdeo, did not see her return home at the usual time he became worried. At about midnight on Tuesday he and some relatives started searching for the woman.

Stabroek News was told that the Basdeos are well known to Ramphal and after not finding her, they called his shipping company to enquire whether he had seen her and it was only then his employees realised that he was missing.

Meanwhile, the police yesterday said that they were continuing their search for the bandits. A release said that up to late yesterday afternoon, the police Target Special Squad with support from other sections of the force and agencies was combing the entire area behind Buxton, in an effort to recapture the five fugitives. The release disclosed that on Wednesday night the lawmen were hampered somewhat by darkness but they relentlessly continued the operation.

The release added that while all possible attention was being given to the entire LBI area and its environs other likely areas where the bandits were suspected to be were being searched.

On Wednesday, bandits attempted to rob a home in Campbellvile using Basdeo's car, a burgundy coloured Corona PGG 232. Their attempts were foiled after shots were fired at them by residents in the area. They still managed to elude a police dragnet, after abandoning Basdeo's car, which was riddled with bullet holes, in front of the American School in Prashad Nagar, and hijacking a Four Runner, PGG 8742. Stabroek News was told that a parent was dropping off her four children at the American School when the armed bandits approached her and one of them pointed a gun to her head ordering her out of the vehicle.

One resident in the area had told this newspaper that she recognised one of the four bandits to be Andrew Douglas, one of the five wanted men who escaped from the Camp Street jail on Mashramani Day. The resident had said she recognised Douglas by his bearded face and "twisted" hairstyle. The other four prison escapees are Dale Moore, Troy Dick, Shawn Browne and Mark Fraser.

And in a strange turn of events, a woman who was well known to Basdeo and was trying to come to grips with her disappearance, had other connections with the dramatic events of that day. The attempted robbery occurred close to where she stays and the woman whose vehicle was hijacked outside of the American School is also connected to her.