Army mum on ranks arrested in ammunition bust
The Guyana Defence Force remained tightlipped on the arrest of two of its ranks by police after they were found in possession of a quantity of 7.62×39 ammunition, which is used in the AK-47 and M-70 assault rifles.
The two ranks, who are attached to the GDF Coastguard, were held along with a civilian on Tuesday evening by members of the Guyana Police Force.
Kaieteur News understands that the men were arranging a sale for the ammunition when they were intercepted. Police in a statement issued late yesterday afternoon confirmed the arrests but did not identify any of the suspects as members of the Guyana Defence Force.
The police statement said, “About 18:30 hours yesterday (Tuesday)…, ranks of a police patrol stopped and searched three men who were seen acting in a suspicious manner on the Railway Embankment at Plaisance, East Coast Demerara, during which a box containing one hundred and thirteen (113) 7.62 x 39 rounds was found. The men are in police custody assisting with the investigations.”
This newspaper contacted the office of the Chief-of-Staff of the GDF yesterday for a comment on the matter but he was unavailable.
Another call was made later in the afternoon with the same results.
Contact was also made with another GDF officer who expressed ignorance about the arrest. When Crime Chief Seelall Persaud was contacted he indicated that he was busy and invited this newspaper to call back later.
However, his office telephone went unanswered when another effort to contact him was made.
It is not clear if the ammunition is the property of the Guyana Defence Force.
However, what is clear is the growing criminality within the disciplined services.
Several former soldiers are before the court for committing crimes such as murder and robbery under arms some of which were committed while they were serving members of the GDF.
In 2006, a whopping 33 AK-47 assault rifles were stolen from the GDF headquarters, Camp Ayanganna in one of the most embarrassing moments of the army’s history.
While many have been recovered, some from slain criminals, several still remain outstanding and are believed to be in the hands of criminal elements.
Commodore Gary Best, shortly after his appointment to the post of Chief-of-Staff, had pledged to weed out criminal elements from within the army, a task which seems not to be bearing much fruit.
Tuesday’s bust comes at a time when the police are hunting for a gang of bandits who used AK-47 or M-70 assault rifles during a recent robbery on the West Coast of Demerara.