Residents say they feel unsafe
Stabroek News
September 4, 2002

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The village of Annandale, East Coast Demerara has been under siege by thieves for several days now and residents yesterday said that they no longer feel safe.

The crime upsurge began some two months ago but it intensified last Friday during the funeral of fugitive Andrew Douglas. On that afternoon, several residents were accosted on the Annandale Public Road and robbed of small sums of cash and jewellery in broad daylight. Several others were threatened and some watched helplessly as unknown attackers smashed their vehicle windscreens. On Saturday, the pillage continued with young brigands attacking passersby and robbing them of cash and jewellery. Police at the Vigilance Police Station have been on high alert but the strikes seem well-planned since there have been no arrests by the police. However, on Sunday residents chased and apprehended two suspicious-looking youths.

According to one resident, it was around noon and the young men were riding bicycles. Because of how they looked some residents in the area raised an alarm and others responded immediately. The resident said that two licensed firearm holders gave chase behind the men and discharged a few rounds in the air.

Another resident threw his bicycle on one of them, resulting in him toppling off his bike. However, he got up and fled the scene, leaving his bicycle behind.

The resident, who is a businessman in the area said that a police patrol vehicle passed shortly after and the ranks were alerted. They picked up the youth’s bicycle, which residents had started to damage, and took it to the Vigilance Police Station.

Residents complained yesterday that young men who they know to be residents of Buxton were observed parading the Market Street area with handguns and were in the habit of threatening and harassing residents. A businessman, Basil Singh was attacked on Saturday, but nothing was stolen. Yesterday, Singh declined to comment on the incident.

On Monday, a police patrol spotted about 25 young men - some armed - near the village. On seeing the policemen, they ran away along the market road. The police went after them and according to a police press statement on Monday, several shots were fired from the group prompting the police to return fire.

After the exchange one member of the group was found in a yard nursing gunshot wounds.

Stabroek News understands that the wounded man was found in Alimudeen Noorhassan’s yard located at Lot 92 Marshall Street Annandale.

Noorhassan said that he was in the city at around 10 am, when he got the news that there was a shootout in his yard.

He said when he arrived home about two hours later the wounded man had already been removed, but there was a large pool of blood on a section his concrete yard. He said from all indications the man bled profusely.

He said residents told him that after the police began to shoot at the men, the man ran into his yard and was trying to sneak out through the back when he was fired upon. There were several bullet holes in the businessman’s concrete fence and holes in his bathroom.

Another resident in the area said that when he saw the large band of men, he thought that they were going to gamble at the market since it was customary for them to do this everyday. However, about five minutes later he saw them running, “helter-skelter, so I wanted to know what happen and when I peep out I saw police behind them,” the resident said.

The police force has since beefed up its patrols in the area and yesterday this newspaper observed ranks driving slowly along the public road.