A gang of marauding gunmen created havoc in the
East Coast Demerara village of Lusignan, killing 11 persons, including
five children, in one of the deadliest attacks in recent years.
The gunmen struck at around 02:00 hours yesterday, simultaneously
kicking down the doors of five houses, slaughtering even children as
they lay sleeping in their beds.
Three persons were also injured, while at least three others escaped
certain death by hiding as the gunmen went on their rampage.
While the gunmen robbed one family of jewellery in some cases, the
motive of the attack does not appear to be just robbery.
In 15 minutes of terror, the gunmen, who numbered about
20, all armed
with rifles and shotguns, massacred their victims,
including an entire
family comprising a mother and her two sleeping children, in a 15-minute
ordeal that has left almost the entire East Coast Demerara in shock.
family comprising a mother and her two sleeping children
Among the dead are Shazam Mohamed; Clarence Thomas; his son, Ron, 11;
daughter, Vanessa 12; Mohandai Gourdat, 32; her two children: Seegobind,
four-years-old, and Seegopaul Harilall, 10; Shalem Baksh, 52; Rooplall
Seecharan, 56; his daughter, Raywattie Ramsingh, 11; and his wife,
Dhanrajie, called Sister, 52.
The injured are Howard Thomas, 19, Nadir Mohamed, 48, and Roberto
Most of the dead were shot in their stomachs and were left lying in
pools of blood that covered most of the floors of their modest homes.
The Police Ballistic Laboratory has since matched some of the spent the
shells found at Lusignan as follows: Five 5.56 shells matched 5.56
shells found at the scene of Drakes's murder in Agricola.
five 7.62 x 39 spent shells matched eighteen shells found at the scene
of Minister Satyadeow Sawh's murder, the murder of the MMC security
guards at Two Brothers gas station, Brumell and Scott at Agricola and
the attack at Canal No. Two in 2007.
Speaking to this newspaper, one of the survivors of yesterday’s
massacre, Bibi Zalika Baksh, whose husband, Shalem, was killed, said
that at around 02:00 hours they heard the shooting which, she said,
started at a house two doors away.
The woman said that the family was downstairs in the two-flat house, and
by the time they ran upstairs and secured themselves under a bed, the
bandits, who she said appeared to be all over the place, began breaking
According to Baksh, the men ordered the family to open their door, but
the family was too terrified to make another move.
Within seconds, their front louvre windows were shattered and some of
the men entered.
“They pull out me husband from under the bed and tell him, 'Give we de
money and de jewellery',” Mrs. Baksh recalled.
She said that her husband begged the men to spare his life but they shot
him in cold blood.
Baksh said that she and her daughter were also under the bed from which
her husband was pulled, but the bandits, in their haste, did not see
She explained that, before her husband was shot, she attempted to come
out from her hiding place to hand over whatever valuables the family had
with the hope of saving their lives.
But her indecision probably saved her life and her 14-year-old
She said that the gunmen went downstairs looking for the rest of the
family, but eventually left when they did not find them.
Gaumattie Thomas, whose husband and two children were killed, recalled
that she did not see what happened but was listening keenly from her
hiding place in her house. According to Thomas, her husband tried to
push in the door even as the killers were trying to enter the house.
However, the gunmen overpowered him and forced their way into the house,
shooting the 52-year-old Clarence Thomas dead in the process. His body
was left lying on the stairs.
“I was just hiding in the corner. Ow! Ah couldn't talk, ah couldn't do
nothing. They did not see me. Then they say, 'Watch two more deh on de
bed. Kill dem! Kill dem',” Mrs. Thomas told this newspaper.
She said that the men shot her sleeping son, Ron, and they then snatched
her daughter, Vanessa, from her bed, and although she screamed and
begged for her life, she, too, was cold bloodedly gunned down.
Another son, Howard, received a bullet and fell off his bed, a move that
certainly saved his life. She said
that maybe if the men had discovered the switch for the light in the
house, the entire family would have been slaughtered.
She is, however, fearful of remaining in her house, since she said that
the men promised to return.
At the home of Shazam Mohamed, his mother, Bibi Khan, told Kaieteur News
that five of them were in the house when the bandits attacked. She said
that the men kicked and shot out their front door to gain entry into the
“Dem shoot, shoot. Awe nah open fuh dead. Me tell dem (family) fuh
hide, sit down easy and hide, nah come out,” she recalled.
She said that she later heard her husband, Nadir Mohamed, groaning and
came out from her hiding place, only to see her son, Shazam, lying badly
wounded in a pool of blood.
“He call out, 'Ow, mammy, give me some water fuh drink and throw some
pon me skin',” Khan recalled.
Noreen Seecharran, whose father, Rooplall; mother, Dhanrajie; and
sister, Raywattie, were all killed, said that she was at her home in
Enterprise -- two miles away -- when she received a call that her
relatives were injured.
She was not told that they were dead.
It was only when she and another sister arrived at their parents' home
that they realised the extent of the carnage.
Rajkumar Harilall, called Bobby, left Guyana on Thursday for Trinidad.
He received the shocking news that his wife, Mohandai Gourdat, and two
sons had been killed in the carnage. He immediately booked a flight to
Guyana and returned home.
So unbearable was the reality of what had happened to his family that he
kept slipping in and out of consciousness.
Residents were upset at the slow police response. They said that the
police refused to answer several telephone calls even as the massacre
was in progress.
This was brought to the attention of Acting Police Commissioner Henry
Greene, who visited the area early yesterday morning and promised a full
investigation into the conduct of his ranks.
Many residents expressed horror that the children were not spared.
“Dem nah come fuh rob. Look how dem kill dem pickney while dem
sleeping,” was one of the frequent comments.
“Dis government gat fuh resign; dem can't protect we,” was another.
President Bharrat Jagdeo led a team of ministers to the community to
console residents, but they were met with a high level of hostility.
Several persons called for the government to step down since, according
to them, they cannot effectively protect the citizenry.
President Jagdeo assured that significant measures will be implemented
to ensure security for every Guyanese. He, however, urged that residents
resuscitate the defunct community policing groups in their areas.