Gun Battle in Paynesville

- One wounded; three arrested
Residents of the Parker Paint Wood-camp Community in the suburb of Paynesville witnessed a horrible gun battle between armed riot police and roughly 26 suspected armed robbers on Monday morning, with at least one of the suspects allegedly shot, while three others were arrested.

The latest shootout with armed robbers followed similar incident which occurred just about a week earlier in Brewerville in a series of havoc waged against communities after about 20-armed robbers were reportedly freed from prison due to the inability of the government to prosecute them after two court terms.

During a NewDawn visit on the incident scene Monday – April 25 in the afternoon at Wood Camp, residents lamented the looting of their belongings while being held at gunpoint by the robbers ahead of police’s arrival.

Some victims said about 15- bullet rounds were fired during the exchange between police and the alleged robbers, but expressed relief that no one was raped during the attack.

One of the victims - Charles J.T. George, Jr., narrated that at about 1:26 am Monday morning, the alleged robbers, accompanied by a lady, went banging on their doors and shouting the name of the land lady, with the motive of entrapping them.

Mr. George said they (robbers) finally forced their way into the house, not only torturing the landlady’s son, but also making away with phones belonging to tenants, while he and his wife were at gunpoint as the robbers made demands for phones, money and other valuables.

At the climax of the incident, the robbers fled upon noticing the arrival of the police. They also led this paper to a site where blood stains of one of the injured armed robbers could be seen, while narrating how a house in the community was forcibly broken into before the criminals held victims at gunpoint.

George said two pickups carrying armed ERU police arrived immediately and engaged in a cross-fire with the robbers, wounding one in the swamp while escaping. According to George, his bag was retrieved by the community watch team members, while the police also retrieved dozens of phones from one of the suspects who was arrested on the scene.

Also speaking with this paper, a former police officer - . David Yogie, appealed to the government to ensure security in the community, as he explained how several incidents of armed robbery continue to occur in the area since 2015.

As he spoke some residents pointed to homes that had been attacked by armed robbers over the years. He said the community had a watch team, but its operations slowed down due to challenges in maintaining the volunteers.

Two other ladies residing in the house ransacked by the robbers - Edwina Zokpo and Rictha Saywra, corroborated the accounts of George, but noted that they could not follow up the case with the police due to transportation problem.

They said a total of 11 phones were taken from their home, and police had not released them upon retrieval, as investigation continues in the case. A resident, who begged not to be named for security reason, had said over 26 armed robbers went to her next door neighbor’s home and took some items, including television, phones watches and wounded others.

She said the suspects were armed with guns and cutlasses, while 15 rounds were heard during the incident. She said the incident was the third in a short period of time. As journalists from this paper were on the scene speaking to victims on Monday heavily armed ERU officers were seen patrolling beleaguered community.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen & Othello B. Garblah

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