Horror struck the West Bank Demerara community of Goed Fortuin yesterday afternoon, when Nafeeza Khan, 22, of the squatting area, was savagely murdered. The prime suspect is her reputed husband of five years, Mohan Basdeo, 34, who is now in police custody.
The couple had apparently been having domestic problems for some time. According to neighbours, Khan’s death comes as no surprise to them, as the couple constantly fought. When the residents of the neighbourhood heard them arguing yesterday afternoon, they thought nothing was amiss, considering the frequency with which the couple argued.
Early in the afternoon, residents of the squatting area reported hearing the couple arguing on the road. They took it for nothing. They said that, from the street, the argument went into the couple’s yard, getting more and more heated all the time.
Once in the yard, they said, Basdeo began to hit Khan, who was carrying their one-month-old baby. They said that the woman eventually set the baby on the ground but the beating continued. Basdeo then left the yard, swearing loudly as he left, the neighbours said.
He returned minutes later, reportedly armed with a knife and screaming that he would stab Khan, who had by this time taken the baby inside of the house and was standing in the doorway as Basdeo yelled.
Eyewitnesses said that Basdeo climbed the stairs and proceeded to stab the frame of the doorway where Khan was standing.
After stabbing the frame of the door a few times, they said, Basdeo apparently made an attempt to stab Khan, who then retreated into the house. Neighbours say that they did not see what transpired after that, but heard Khan screaming.
The screaming they also took for nothing, as the woman had been screaming throughout the confrontation.
Neighbours explained to this newspaper that they knew something was amiss only when they saw Khan dripping in blood, moments before she collapsed on the floor of the house the couple shared. At this point the police were summoned, and ranks from the La Grange Police Station arrested Basdeo just outside of the house.
Basdeo, the neighbours said, is a drunk who, from time to time, would indulge in cannabis and cocaine.
This afternoon, the residents of the community expressed their outrage at Khan’s death.
They claimed to have reported the consistent abuse the woman suffered to the La Grange Police Station numerous times before.
They said that they were often given the ‘run around in circles,’ and redirected to the authorities in Georgetown. When they contacted those authorities, there were claims that there was a lack of transportation.
The authorities in the city would then redirect them to the Vreed-en-Hoop police, who told them that, due to a backlog of similar cases, there was not much they could do to help the situation.
Speaking with Kaieteur News, Khan’s brother, who was visibly distraught after seeing his sister’s dead body through a large crack in the door, explained that the two had often had quarrels and she would retreat to his home in Vergenoegen, only to return to the Goed Fortuin squatting area some days later.
He said he was unsure why she always returned.
According to Khan’s brother, if the post mortem is completed by tomorrow, as the police suspect it will be, the body will be buried according to Muslim rights on the same day.
Khan was described by residents of the area as a quiet girl who had a lot of strength and put her children first. She was also said to have been very much in love with Basdeo, who often beat her.
Khan leaves three young children to mourn her. Her youngest child is only one month old, and the other children are aged one and three years old respectively.
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