Two vehicles attacked, robbed on Buxton railway embankment
Crime gang informants responsible - sources
Stabroek News
January 23, 2004

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Ambush point: The six bandits who pounced on the two vehicles on Wednesday evening are believed to have used this area right next to this Friendship sign to waylay traffic.

Armed bandits operating out of Buxton struck for the third time this week when they ambushed and robbed two vehicles on Wednesday evening on the Buxton Railway Embankment.

According to a press release from the Guyana Police Force, on Wednesday night at around 9:15 a driver who was proceeding east along the Buxton Railway Embankment had stopped to clear pieces of wood and other objects when six men pounced and robbed him at gunpoint. He was stripped of his cellular phone, $10,000 and US$20. The release added that a few minutes later a second vehicle with four passengers approached and was also robbed by the same men. The driver of the second vehicle was relieved of a wristwatch, jewellery and six Compact Discs and the passengers of cash and other valuables.

Only Sunday evening three gunmen opened fire on a pick-up with six men seriously injuring two of them. And then on Tuesday night George Chow, a contractor working in the area, was shot by a lone gunman when he refused a bandit's order to dismount his motorcycle.

The man was eventually shot in his arm and was taken to the Georgetown Hospital for treatment.

When Stabroek News visited Buxton yesterday the embankment had been cleared of the debris.

Pieces of old wood and two steel planks were strewn on the corner of the Friendship embankment.

A knowledgeable source told this newspaper that every night a group of men, all armed with handguns, operate between the Friendship and Brushe Dam roads. The source said the men would target specific vehicles, noting that a number of popular minibuses and well-known car drivers were usually allowed to traverse the embankment without being attacked.

Stabroek News was told that owing to the rehabilitation of a number of the East Coast bridges on the public road, vehicles would use the embankment to avoid long delays.

The source said the gunmen are young men who had previously worked as informants for the notorious gang which had occupied the village following the February 23, 2002 jail-break. The source said during 2002 and some periods last year these youngsters rode bicycles all around the village and even on the public road and would alert the criminals as to where the police or soldiers were. The source said the informants were then armed with cellular phones and mobile radios.

"These are the same men who are now operating in the village. They still have some of the guns which the bandits had," the source told this newspaper.

Even though police have been maintaining constant patrols in the village they have not been able to control the rise in criminal activities there for this year so far.

The source told Stabroek News that some villagers who had fled the village during the heat of the crime have since returned but with the resurgence of criminal activities some residents may want to leave again.

A spiritual leader of the village told this newspaper that a peace march was in the planning stage for the village. The source said some villagers were still apprehensive about the crime situation.

In its statement the police said it was concerned that drivers and to a lesser extent commuters continue to traverse the Buxton Railway Embankment road despite being advised not to do so.

"In the past the advice was principally due to the ... two large ditches in the area on the road which caused vehicles to slow down, thus aiding the opportunity criminals who apparently lurked in the vicinity."

The police assured that the ditches were now filled but the criminals have not disappeared.

The police also noted that their presence in the area does not guarantee that the criminal-minded will not seek to ply their trade, since the police may not be in the specific area when the crime is being committed or about to be committed. The police are warning persons to heed the advisories that have been issued and to exercise due care and attention in a very serious manner.