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Enterprise man shot dead by fleeing bandits -worshippers, businesses robbed in rampage

Bandits last evening shot and killed an Enterprise, East Coast Demerara man in a 45-minute rampage during which they robbed a grocery and lumberyard at Non Pareil.

Dead is Ramjeet Rampersaud, 40. Relatives said the man was sitting on a culvert just at the entrance of Enterprise when five men confronted him. Without demanding anything, one of the men shot Rampersaud in his chest and then fled into nearby Bare Root. Police up to late last night were scouring Bare Root and had reportedly engaged the bandits at one point but they managed to escape. It was the second night in a row that bandits had used excessive violence on the East Coast. (See other story on page 2.)

The drama began to unfold around 7 pm, the owner of Pam's grocery story and Lumber Yard located at Non Pareil said. The man who asked that his name be left out of the story said that a group of worshippers were at a mandir situated a few metres from his yard at the back. According to him, five men all armed with guns attacked the worshippers, demanding cash and jewellery. Some of the folks were placed to lie face down, while others were subdued in the mandir as the bandits made their demands.

Stabroek News was told that some of the worshippers were relieved of articles but the majority of them had nothing substantial. Leaving the mandir, the robbers moved over to the grocery store where the grocer's wife who is only known as Pam was grabbed by one of the bandits. With a gun placed to her head the robbers demanded cash and other articles. The woman initially told them that there wasn't anything. Insisting that the woman had money, the bandits proceeded to beat her, hitting her on her head and other parts of her body. The owner said a substantial sum of cash along with jewellery was handed over to robbers who discharged a number of shots in the air before escaping. When Stabroek News visited the lumberyard last night a small crowd had gathered at the scene. The owner said that he was fed up of the situation and had become very fearful. He told Stabroek News that it was the fist time he was robbed. According to him, the robbery has left his wife very traumatized and has also shaken up the neighbourhood, which has become a target for a marauding gang of bandits camping out in surrounding communities.

Once the bandits fled, residents summoned the police, but by the time they arrived the bandits had already reached Enterprise, which is about fifteen minutes away from Non Pareil on foot. Rampersaud, along with his sister Seeranie Rampersaud, and the woman's husband, were at the entrance of Enterprise waiting to catch a bus. Ranie Rampersaud, another sister of the dead man, said that it took her relatives some time to catch a bus and as such Ramjeet sat on a culvert nearby while waiting. She said that from all appearances, Ramjeet and the other two saw the men approaching them but they did not panic as it was a normal thing for residents of Bare Root to use that route on their way home. The woman said she does not know what triggered off the bandits but as soon as they got close to Ramjeet one opened fire on him hitting him in his chest, the bullet passing through the upper right part of his chest and exiting.

Once Ramjeet was hit, Seeranie and her husband made a mad dash back to their relatives' home in Enterprise and the bandits fired a couple of shots, which did not hit them. Ramjeet was knocked unconscious and was rushed to the Georgetown Hospital by the police. Doctors battled to save his life but he died while receiving treatment.

Stabroek News was told that shortly after Ramjeet was shot the police pulled up at Enterprise and exchanged a few shots with the bandits who melted into the dark backlands of Bare Root and disappeared. Police continued to sweep the area last night but had not arrested anyone up to press time. A joint services roadblock was also thrown up at Happy Acres last night but this was clearly not in reaction to the shooting. Stabroek News was told also that a bakery at Foulis on the East Coast of Demerara was robbed last evening. However this newspaper could not confirm this as the business was tightly closed when Stabroek News visited.

A small crowd had converged outside Ramjeet's yard at Enterprise. His relatives said that he was a very quiet person. The man's brother lamented the manner of his death, saying that it was clear that the intention was to kill and not to rob him. "They ain't ask he for anything, just walk up and shoot he and run away," the brother commented. Tensions have run high in the villages of Non Pareil, Enterprise, Annandale and Coldingen in the past as roaming bandits from nearby Buxton and Bare Root have attacked residents with impunity.

Police have in the past failed to put an end to the violence and now with the gunmen in Buxton being forced to flee to nearby villages as the police and army continue occupying the backlands residents are fearful of more attacks.

Stabroek News