Bandits kill elderly man
Fired four shots at head after robbery
By Nigel Williams
January 25, 2003
Bandits killed a 64-year-old man yesterday by firing four bullets into his head after robbing a Better Hope shop.
Yacoob Mohamed known as ‘Haman’ of Vryheid’s Lust Railway Line had been sitting in a white plastic chair outside the shop located at Better Hope Back Street, East Coast Demerara when one of the bandits after robbing the owner, fired four bullets into his head.
It was the latest assault in a stepped up campaign of murder and robbery by bandits. As in other recent cases, the bandits made a clean getaway. Less than a week ago, another businessman in the same village, Ralph Bassoo, was shot dead by bandits and on Wednesday night two men were killed and eight persons injured when gunmen invaded two Charlestown business places and sprayed bullets around the area.
Residents were furious yesterday at the death of the man who they described as friendly and quiet. Some of them berated the government and the security forces for not being able to stop the criminals.
“Only Sunday somebody was killed in this place (referring to businessman Bassoo) and nothing was done, no police or army patrol, look what happened today again!” one distressed resident told Stabroek News.
Mohamed’s head was split open by the bullets and part of his face was blown away by the gunfire from the bandit’s AK-47. Police recovered a few spent shells in the shop.
An eyewitness said that around 3 pm she saw a dark-coloured car HA 9798 with about six men pull up in front of the shop. She said immediately after they arrived two shots were fired in the air and four of them men jumped out of the car. All six men were armed with long guns which appeared to be AK-47’s and were masked with stockings.
Once out of the car the four men barged into the grocery which is owned by a woman who gave her name only as Dolly.
Dolly said Yacoob, who was employed by her as a chauffeur, was sitting in a chair just over the counter. She remembered seeing two of the four bandits walk into her shop both armed with long guns.
“As soon as they come in they pointed their guns in my direction and asked me for all de money.”
Dolly, whose shop was also robbed last December, said she quickly handed them the entire day’s sales. She noticed that the men spent a few minutes more looking around before leaving.
Then as they were going, one of them on passing Mohamed on his way out, turned around and fired into his head. She said Mohamed dropped to the ground with the first shot but at least three others followed in quick succession all directed at his head. The bandits then jumped into their vehicle and drove off using the East Coast Public Road on their way further up the coast. Dolly could not understand why the bandits killed Mohamed.
“He was sitting there quietly, he even look at them, but they shoot he dead.”
When Stabroek News arrived, a huge crowd had already converged around the shop. The police responded to the crime only minutes after and left in an apparent chase. The army was not on the scene.
The dead man’s wife, Zamoon Mohamed said she last saw her husband some time after 2 pm. Zamoon also known as Nesha told Stabroek News her husband has been working with Dolly for about a month. She said yesterday morning he left for work after which he went to the mosque for prayers. According to the woman after returning from the mosque, he had a change of clothing and reported back to work.
It was a few minutes later she got a call saying he was dead.
“What he can do to people? What he can do to bandits?” she asked.
She said Mohamed was everything to her. “This man has been living with me for so long. We make four children, look now what happened all he grandchildren gon miss he now.”
Mohamed only recently retired from the Georgetown Public Hospital where he worked for 30 years as a foreman attached to the Main Operating Theatre. He leaves to mourn his four children: Rasheed, Fazal, Sheik and Bibi.
Dolly told this newspaper that she did not know what to do with her shop. The attacks had become too alarming and like all others she would now have to think carefully as to her future.
On Sunday afternoon six armed bandits robbed and killed Ralph Bassoo of Lot 22 South Better Hope. They also beat and shot his wife, Shireen Khan in her left leg.
On Thursday, President Bharrat Jagdeo expressed concern that the police and army had been unable to bring an end to rampant crime. The Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces called for a rethink of their strategies.