Five held after East Coast attacks
-- gunmen fire on Army patrols
Guyana Chronicle
August 8, 2002

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AN ARMY patrol in Buxton, East Coast Demerara, captured five suspected criminals following a shootout when the soldiers pursued the men after gunmen attacked a family and burnt two houses in the area early yesterday morning.

At around 01:30 hrs, bandits set fire to a house in Buxton and when the occupants tried to evacuate their burning home, they came under fire, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon said.

The Army patrols operating in the area responded immediately to the situation and were able to evacuate the occupants of one of the burning buildings.

Luncheon said efforts by the Guyana Fire Service to save the houses were hindered by the shootout between the Army and the criminals.

In a press statement, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) said that after its patrol received information of a house on fire, the Army deployed patrols to the scene.

Upon arrival, the GDF said its patrol came under attack by bandits who had laid siege to the Chesters home under the pretext that Devon Chester was a police informer.

Devon Chester, the Army stated, is the brother of Brian Chester who was shot at several months ago in Buxton.

Shortly after, the GDF said, another patrol, while going south of Brusche Dam was also attacked. The soldiers immediately returned fire, the GDF said, wounding one of the attackers who managed to escape with his colleagues under cover of darkness.

No member of the patrol was injured.

Shortly after the exchange of gunfire, the area was cordoned off and five persons who attempted to breach the cordon were arrested and handed over to the Police, the GDF stated.

Members of the Army patrol were able to rescue the occupants from the burning building, one of whom was Devon Chester who suffered from gunshot wounds to the arm and hip, the GDF said.

Two other members of the household also suffered injuries; one from gunshot wounds and another from burns to the right arm and both feet, the Army said.

In addition, the Army said its patrol escorted members of the fire department from the Enmore Sugar Estate and the Guyana Fire Service, who were able to prevent a third house from being burnt.

By that time, the fire had already destroyed the two houses in which the Chesters lived.

The Army said that a large quantity of spent shells from semi-automatic weapons was discovered and handed over to the Police.

The GDF stated that it has since then been relentlessly pursuing the perpetrators and is appealing to all law abiding citizens of Buxton to help rid the community of "those elements who wish to tarnish its image and to spoil the good relationship that exists between the Army and the residents."