Gunmen kill one in Buxton
-soldier wounded
By Kim Lucas and Oscar P. Clarke
Stabroek News
November 24, 2002

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One man was confirmed dead and a soldier was shot in the head as gunmen opened fire last night in the village of Buxton, East Coast Demerara.

Up to press time, the dead man had not been identified, but sources said he was found on the railway embankment, in front of Omar's Lumber Yard in Friendship, clad in American-type camouflage clothing and a bullet-proof vest.

Chaos broke out in the troubled adjoining villages once more at about 6:30 pm, just as final preparations were being made for the commencement of a peace concert on the railway embankment at Buxton. The concert went on as planned.

Stabroek News understands that a silver-grey pick-up vehicle, bearing licence plate DFD 4793, was seen passing through the village of Buxton at about 6:30 pm, moments before a loud explosion was heard.

Residents claimed that a group of men in the pick-up lobbed a grenade somewhere at the back of the village and then started shooting, causing persons to dash for cover.

"It [the pick-up] went up to Brushe Dam, then turn back [towards the city]... rapid gunfire. I was on the steps when the vehicle sped past... It came back shooting, so I dashed inside and lie down and tell everybody to stay down," one resident said.

Several residents said the attackers were dressed in camouflage clothing. Up to press time, Stabroek News was unable to verify who were the shooters or whom they were targeting.

Some time during the shooting incident, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Private Thomas, 20, was shot in the forehead and had to be rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. Hospital sources told this newspaper that his condition was listed as critical and that he had to undergo emergency surgery.

Up to late last night, the army was still trying to ascertain the circumstances under which Thomas was shot. Officials told this newspaper that there were conflicting reports regarding the incident.

One rank said a carload of men drove through the village and opened fire on villagers, hitting Thomas in the process. However, the rank said another account seemed to suggest that a group of men in an open-back pick-up might have launched the attack on the army patrol. Residents last night claimed that both a pick-up and a car might have been involved in the shooting.

Army personnel who were up to late last night still combing the villages found the pick-up abandoned at the junction of Wilkens and Post Office streets. Sources said the vehicle was facing south and that no weapons were found in it.

Some residents told the soldiers that three men were seen running from the abandoned vehicle. They surmised that the dead man might have been shot in the vicinity of Wilkens street and then dragged to the embankment.

Stabroek News understands that the dead man was shot several times to the back of the head. His clothing was covered with mud.

Army sources said the dead man was about 5ft 7 inches tall, dark in complexion, bald headed and of African descent. He was clad in a pair of `hard' pants and an American-type camouflage shirt. He was not wearing any footwear when found.

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