Slain shopkeeper was attacked in August
By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
December 31, 2002

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Shopkeeper, Basil Singh of Annandale who died on Sunday evening after being riddled with bullets by unknown gunmen had been attacked in August also by a man on a bicycle.

70-year-old Singh of 147 Gale Street Annandale North died at around 8:45 pm while undergoing surgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital. The news of his death reached his wife shortly before midnight on Sunday and quickly spread to other relatives.

Singh, known also as `Fat Man' was shot at least seven times in his upper body when four gunmen stormed his store in an apparent robbery attempt. His 23-year-old son Muneshwar Singh sustained a single gunshot wound to his left knee and is presently a patient at the hospital.

Basil's wife Indranie Singh told this newspaper that it was not the family's first encounter with gunmen.

On August 31, one day after the burial of notorious fugitive Andrew Douglas, the elder Singh was among several other residents of

Annandale who were attacked when a group of teens invaded the village robbing passengers from mini-buses. On that very day one of the robbers attacked his store. Indranie said her husband after being attacked had parcelled off a wad of money and handed it over to the bandit but, when the man was about to leave Basil fired off a few shots, causing him to run and leave the cash. The man was also riding a bicycle and he abandoned that and fled on foot. While Indranie was not keen in divulging what had transpired between her husband and the gunmen since that time, she said she believes that the men who killed him are linked to the first attack.

Reports are that it was clear that the men's motive was not to rob, but to kill or seriously wound Singh. His wife has since closed their store and according to her it will remain closed until she feels safe.

She said she had lost one of the most cheerful and hardworking persons she had ever known. For over thirty years the couple has been living together and they had established their business some ten years ago.

With tears running down her cheeks, Indranie recalled that the family was all at home on Sunday afternoon when the gunmen who were riding on Mountain Climber bicycles visited.

She said two of the men entered the store while two others remained at the gate. The woman recalled that once the two got into the store they began shooting indiscriminately and Basil who was asleep at the time awoke and returned fire at them. She said her children all ran for cover and Basil and the gunmen had an exchange for a little while before they cornered him and pumped at least seven rounds into his body.

The woman said her husband then dropped to the ground and one of the two gunmen relieved him of his firearm, joined his accomplices and they all jumped on their bicycles and escaped north of the village in some dense bushes. She said one of them left behind a cellular phone which was handed over to the police who arrived on the scene a few minutes after the gunmen fled.

A tracker dog along with a contingent of armed police ranks had responded to the shooting on Sunday and had recovered a bicycle which according to reports had been left behind by the fleeing gunmen.

Yesterday family and relatives of the late businessman began preparing for his wake. Two black flags were put up on the front gate of the store. Indranie who was too distressed to speak on Sunday had her head tied and friends were seen rubbing her face with Limacol. She described her husband as a very quiet man, noting that he had helped many residents in the area. Singh leaves to mourn four children, Nanda, Kamla, Muneshwar and Dharam.

Since the start of the crime wave earlier this year, residents of Annandale have been targeted frequently by bandits operating out of Buxton. In several cases the bandits have used bicycles. Neither the police nor the army has been able to prevent these attacks or apprehend the perpetrators.

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