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Minister of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock, Satyadeow Sawh, was early yesterday morning brutally cut down in a hail of bullets along with his brother and sister, a security guard and a dog sending shock waves throughout the country.

Masked gunmen dressed in military fatigues invaded the 50-year-old minister's home at Earl's Court, La Bonne Intention (LBI), East Coast Demerara (ECD), killing the minister, his brother Rajpat Sawh, 62; and his sister Pulmatie Persaud called 'Julie', 54, who were visiting from Canada. The minister's security guard, Curtis Robertson, 38, of Leopold and Cross streets and his dog was shot and killed at the front of his yard.

Three other people were also injured: Omprakash Sawh, 53, another brother of the minister also a resident of Canada; and security guards Albert Mangra, 59, of Better Hope, ECD and Aga Khan, 53, of Lusignan West, ECD.

Omprakash Sawh was treated and sent away as only his foot and hand were grazed with a bullet, but the two security guards were admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital after undergoing surgery.

The police said yesterday that the killing appeared to be robbery related, but many labelled it an assassination and speculation was rife as to what could have been the motive for the murder of Sawh, who was also acting as Minister of Agriculture.

Crime Chief Henry Green (left) and Police Commissioner Winston Felix at the press conference yesterday

Stabroek News understands that the attack was carried out around 12.15 am by six or seven gunmen who moved stealthily through the street on foot, simultaneously attacking the minister's home and shooting at two nearby homes which had guards on duty. The attack lasted between eight and 15 minutes. After riddling the minister and his family with bullets the men melted into the darkness and it is suspected that they used the canefield aback of LBI to escape.

The minister's relatives were in the country for the observance of their mother's first death anniversary, which was yesterday, and they had all just returned from a private function at Le Meridien Pegasus. Reports said they were relaxing outside on the patio when the attack occurred.

The minister's younger son and some cousins were out at the time of the attack. The minister's older son is in the United States studying.

According to a police release, the gunmen approached along the roadway and discharged rounds at Mangra, who was on duty at the house opposite the minister's - 64 Earl's Court - hitting him in the abdomen. They then discharged several rounds at security guard, Roopnarine Thakurdin, 53, who was on duty at Lot 63 Earl's Court but he managed to take evasive action and escaped unhurt.

Stabroek News