Gunmen attack another petrol station
--Official warns of dire consequences if stations ignite
By Shawnel Cudjoe
Guyana Chronicle
January 12, 2003

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VICE President of the Guyana Petrol Station Dealersí Association (GPDA), Mr. Charles Woon A-tai, said yesterday that should a gas station ignite, the consequences could be disastrous.

Woon-a-Tai said so in the wake of an attack on another gas station last week. On Friday evening, bandits robbed and attempted to burn down the petrol station at the corners of Lime and D'Urban Streets, Georgetown.

According to employees of the Texaco Service Station, around 19:50 hrs, three of four gunmen exited a white Toyota Carina, which came from west along D'Urban Street, and proceeded to rob the station.

They reportedly posed as customers, and robbed the service station after they were approached by a pump attendant.

It was the third gas station to be attacked in two days.

The heavily armed bandits robbed the two pump attendants on duty of an estimated $75,000, before robbing about three other persons who were on the pavement in front of the gas station at the time.

The persons were robbed of cash and jewellery before everyone, including a pregnant woman, was ordered to lie face down on the floor.

A bullet grazed the head of one of the employees on duty as the gunmen opened a hail of gunfire.

The bandits then set about saturating the vicinity of the station with gasoline, before hurling channa bombs, which failed to ignite.

In a second attempt to burn the station, they used pieces of cloth for wicks and matches, but this also failed.

The gunmen then entered the stationís convenience store and began shooting indiscriminately. This was evident from the large bullet holes in the eastern glass window of the store and the upper section of the glass at the storeís entrance.

The bandits then left hurriedly in the car that made its way north along Lime Street.

A fire tender, which arrived some time after, doused the area with water and sand.

The gas station resumed business early yesterday morning, but evidence of Friday night's attack was still visible. When Chronicle visited the scene yesterday, several broken bottles and pieces of cloth could be seen lying around.

On Thursday evening, six unmasked gunmen robbed the Shell Gas Station and Convenience Store at Camp and New Market Streets. Customers, who were at the facility at the time, were also robbed and terrorised. The gunmen also forced the pump attendants to activate the fuel pumps and they saturated the premises and pumps with gasoline. However, several attempts to ignite the fuel with matches failed.

Earlier on Thursday, the `Two Brothersí Gas Station at Eccles, East Bank Demerara, came under attack, again by armed men who tried to set it alight by using `channa bombsí. During the attack, the men succeeded in destroying two fuel pumps. No one was injured.

The attackers used the nozzles attached to the fuel pumps to spray gasoline around the station and hurled the `channa bombsí which started the fire. Proprietor Mr. Shairaz Ali said that from all appearances, the primary motive of the attack was the destruction of the station, rather than robbery.

Since the attacks, the GPSDA has indicated that it is considering the early closure of gas stations throughout the country, until such time as the association feels that it would be safe to resume nightly business.

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