The terror must be stopped Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
August 31, 2004

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THE fresh wave of terror on the East Coast spread over the weekend, with the heavily-armed gangs leaving more dead in their wake.

The targets of the attacks have been poor, defenceless people at the mercy of ruthless killers who clearly have more on their minds than barefaced robbery.

They also have the ability to escape the police with unbelievable ease.

These are not ordinary criminals on a spree these are men out to kill and spread terror and the authorities have to come up with a plan to put an end to this outrage.

As we have noted before, there are harsh lessons for the authorities in the stretched out campaign of terror the gangs unleashed on the East Coast from the Buxton epicenter between 2002 and 2003.

During that dark period, savage and deadly attacks were launched on villages around Buxton and the bands for a long time found refuge in Buxton.

The gangs roamed freely and attacked with impunity, even targeting policemen.

A similar pattern is evolving in this new wave of terror on the East Coast.

First, the bus owner at Non Pariel was brutally stabbed 14 times in his body and left to bleed to death near his unconscious wife, while their terrified 14-year-old daughter hid under her bed.

Why did the attackers have to kill him after they had got $100,000 in cash, his widow tearfully wondered afterwards?

Police shortly after mounted an operation in Buxton and an armed gang turned up and killed a young policeman before slipping away.

Last week, a gang of five men dressed in black clothes, wreaked more terror at Coldingen.

There was no way they could have gotten into the house of the Sookra family yet they kept up a barrage of gunfire on the building, bullets piercing the wooden floor, a bed and mattress and the roof.

Nine-year-old Christine Sookra died in the hail of gunfire, a bullet ripping through her head.

Why this display of firepower, why this parade of terror?

And the campaign spread over the weekend, even as top government officials moved to address the concerns of terrified villagers.

Hours after the government delegation visited Coldingen Sunday, gunmen unleashed fresh attacks on hapless residents in nearby villages, some living in nothing more than shacks.

By yesterday morning, they had executed three men, escaping with very little booty and again raising the question of the motive behind the attacks.

The police have so far not been able to deal with the onslaught and we repeat - if they lack the resources, the army should be immediately called in to help.

At the height of the 2002-2003 crime wave on the East Coast, it was announced that a police SWAT team would have been up and running soon.

The current situation on the East Coast calls for the immediate deployment of a SWAT team and if the police are not up to the task, the government should call in the army to help in a comprehensive sweep to sanitise the area.

The campaign of terror must be stopped.