Death squad 'went partying after hits'
March 28, 2004
Death squad members used to joke about their hits at all-night parties says a witness who claims to have been close to the group.
The person says they are willing to identify the men, including serving members of the police force, who were part of the group dedicated to extinguishing criminals.
They also say they can volunteer what they know about the group, but do not believe the police force can be trusted, since some of its senior members are among those embroiled in the allegations. The informant is one of a few persons who have come forward with information about the group, which is said to have been responsible for several executions between August 2002 and December 2003.
The revelations began almost three months ago when George Bacchus, an ex-informant, went public with death squad allegations. He said the group had performed contract killings after they had eliminated their primary targets.
He has since gone into hiding, while several others have surfaced and are willing to speak, albeit anonymously, for fear that they may be targeted.
The person who spoke to this newspaper was in close contact with members of the group, including some of the men who were named by Bacchus as key members.
This includes Axel Williams, who was reportedly killed by his own colleagues.
The person told Stabroek News in a recent interview that the meeting place of the squad was in their area. "[They] were all there, carrying on until early in the morning." The individual remembers the nights when there were killings; the men would assemble at a nearby house, where they would hold loud parties until the early morning.
One night the witness overheard them talking about one of the killings that had occurred only hours before, the murder of Terrence Archer, known as "Monkey Nut."
Wanted for the murder of at least three policemen, Archer was shot dead on June 3, 2003, in a well-planned execution. He had just come from a restaurant when he was ambushed by the men who shot him twenty-three times before they drove away.
The informant said the men reminisced about the killing and the way the food he had eaten poured through the bullet holes in his stomach after he was hit. "All the food came back through the bullet holes," the men remarked while laughing about it.
"It was upsetting, very upsetting," the person said of the moment when they realised what the group was talking about; "but I couldn't do anything because I couldn't trust anybody."
Soon after, one of the hitmen was reportedly shot by a wanted man who had been eluding capture for more than a year.
The witness noticed that the next day the wanted man was killed along with others. Though the degree of its involvement remains unclear, it is reported that the group played a key part in the following day's activities which were in retaliation.
That the men were involved in abductions and murders was made clear to the person when one night Williams and another suspected member both attacked a man.
Williams then threatened to make the man vanish, pointing to his associate's car. The car was used in the abduction of several men who were later found dead.
"Anybody who go into this car, you don't find them back," Williams told the frightened man.
The individual who spoke to this newspaper knows of at least two serving members of the police force who helped the group to murder people.
Bacchus too had said that some serving policemen as well as ex-policemen formed the membership of the group.
And though the Stabroek News informant is unsure of the degree of Mark Thomas's involvement in the group, they say he was a very close friend of the members. Thomas, called "Kerzorkee" was arrested along with Ashton King and Sean Hinds for the murder of Bacchus' brother Shafeek. The men were charged but Thomas died in hospital soon after under mysterious circumstances.
The person said they also noticed that some members of the group experienced a drastic change in fortunes over the period that men were being mysteriously killed.
A man who once rode a bicycle was suddenly driving a car that he could never have afforded, and he moved from the slums to a wealthy area.
They also noticed a close friend who suddenly managed to accumulate a lot of material wealth.
Bacchus has said the group was supported by established businessmen, including one involved in the currency exchange industry.
This newspaper was told by the informant that this particular businessman was responsible for most of the finances for the group, which led them to seek the help of a person in the judicial system.
"I have made a lot of efforts to talk to someone, but I am afraid... afraid of the government."
But despite the person's willingness to speak out about the men, they are worried about their safety.
"When we ready we can get Bacchus. We already know where he is hiding..." members of the group said, according to the witness's account.
"So that is why I think that he is scared of coming forward," the person said.
Security is a concern for most of the people willing to talk about the group, and not just George Bacchus. A relative of his has said that he is still willing to provide information but wants his security assured.
Stabroek News has spoken with four other individuals who all say they can provide information about the men and their actions. But they have all expressed some degree of anxiety about coming forward to law enforcement officials with the information, since none of them believes they have any assurances about their safety.
One woman actually spoke with one of the men responsible for her husband's death. Another witness learnt of the exploits of a man who worked as a courier between a member of the group and a wanted man. There were also two other persons who spoke about some of the executions which had taken place between 2002 and 2003.