Policeman shot dead during Buxton patrol
New anti-crime operation launched
By Kim Lucas
Stabroek News
January 9, 2003

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One policeman was shot dead in Buxton last evening and another was wounded when a patrol came under fire in the village, hours after the joint services launched Operation Saline Solution II to flush out criminals.

Dead is Constable 18043 Nankumar Mohabir, 25, of Enmore Pasture on the East Coast Demerara. He was stationed at the Vigilance Police Station and is the fourth law enforcement officer to be slain since the start of the New Year.

Meanwhile, Constable 18755 Surujballi, was wounded when he tried to escape the hail of gunfire and had to be rushed to a city hospital last night.

A release from the Police Public Relations Office last night said Constable Mohabir was fatally shot at about 6:25 pm, when gunmen opened fire on a police mobile patrol on the Public Road and Brusche Dam, Buxton, East Coast Demerara.

“The mobile patrol was proceeding east on the public road when the vehicle came under fire. Constable Mohabir, who was the driver, was fatally shot...Investiga-tions are in progress,” the release stated.

Shortly before the incident, sources told Stabroek News that members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were confined to Base Camp Ayanganna as part of the operation which began at about 2 pm in Buxton. No statement was issued yesterday by the law enforcement agencies on the operation.

Earlier in the day, residents of Buxton complained that several van-loads of policemen swooped on the village and proceeded to “break down people stand [and] kick down people door”. Several vendors, who were not around during the operation, later showed members of the media the extent of the damage and alleged that their stock had been pilfered. Others, who remained indoors, claimed that during the raids, they heard “firing up de road”.

As Stabroek News spoke by phone to some residents at about 6:15 pm, sounds of more gunshots were heard. Ten minutes later, word spread that Mohabir had been killed.

At his home last night, Mohabir’s sister, Indi, could barely contain her grief as she was consoled by several neighbours. The young woman had just received the message from another sibling who had travelled to the city to check on Mohabir’s condition.

Mohabir is the fifteenth policeman, and the eighteenth law enforcement officer killed since the eruption of the crime spree last year February when five men escaped from the Camp Street jail.

Three of those escapees were killed during subsequent shootouts last year and yesterday’s operation was launched with the hope of nabbing the other two, as well as other dangerous criminals, law enforcement sources say.

Mohabir’s sister told this newspaper that the young policeman, who had joined the force some five or six years ago, “always say he love he job and would never leave it”. That was despite pleas by members of his family to do so.

The cop is survived by three siblings and his parents, Indar and Baba, who reside in Canada. When his parents were told about the incident, Indi said “they just answer ... they can’t say anything anymore”.

Last night, joint roadblocks by the police and army were thrown up along the East Coast Demerara, at Lusignan and Melanie and there was also a heavy military presence at the Vigilance Police Station.

Just two days ago, a senior police source announced that new measures would be put in place to fight crime.

Since the brazen daylight prison break-out by five men from the Camp Street penitentiary on February 23, there have been more than 100 murders, as well as numerous robberies, carjackings, kidnappings and shootings.

Ever since then, there have been numerous calls for the administration to take action. As one of the means to combat the crime situation on the East Coast Demerara, the Guyana Defence Force last year May launched Operation Plaster Paris, then Operation Tourniquet. The latter operation has been criticised for not producing results.

Sources yesterday told Stabroek News that based on intelligence information gathered to date, authorities have solid leads that the criminals are hiding out in the areas between Good Hope and Paradise on the East Coast of Demerara, and in Georgetown.

As a result, yesterday’s operation was launched, another in a series of joint exercises with the aim of flushing out the criminals.

On Tuesday, sources told this newspaper that one of the constraints facing the law enforcement teams was that wanted men, for whom bulletins were recently posted, have been frequently changing their known addresses.

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