Jan 26, 2016 News
Six students of the Guyana School of Agriculture at Mon Repos, are extremely grateful to ranks of a police patrol arriving in time to save them from what could have been, a fatal thrashing at the hands of residents who mistook them for bandits.
The live-in students, who suffered injuries, though not immediately life threatening, were treated at a City hospital on Saturday night.
Three residents have been detained by the police, who are still diligently investigating the matter and there is a possibility that more arrests will be made.
Speaking to this newspaper the students, all males, spoke of being dragged from yards and trenches and beaten with cutlasses and other objects, even as they tried to explain that they were students from the East Coast Demerara-based agricultural institution.
One of the victims, Kevin Sandy, recalled that they were heading to a party around 21:00 hours on Saturday when they were attacked.
He said that he was accompanied by Michael Layne, who received the most severe beating, Allon Francisco, and three other colleagues, whose names were given as Ryan, Elden and Orson.
“We missed the bus that was to take us there, and since the guard closed the school gate at nine, we decided to jump the fence and ended up in an empty lot. The neighbours saw us and they began shouting, ‘Look dem! Look dem!’ We didn’t pay them no mind because it looked like they were drinking, so we continued on our way along Agriculture Road,” Sandy told this newspaper.
He said that as they were approaching the railway embankment, a yellow station wagon pulled up alongside them and eight men armed with cutlasses, knives and wood came out and confronted them.
According to Sandy, the men began scraping their cutlasses on the road and approached them in a menacing manner causing them to become afraid.
He said that he and his friends decided that the best thing to do at the time was to run back towards the GSA compound.
But as they were heading back another vehicle with eight more men blocked their path; only Francisco managed to make it past the blockade and headed back to the school compound.
Meanwhile, the mob of villagers began attacking the students who desperately tried to explain that they were just students of the GSA.
“We try to run and Elden fall; they tackle he and he tried to beg them. I continue running and I end up falling in some water. A man come to me with a big stick and start lashing me in my back and tell me to come out the water. Another mob come with a cane cutter cutlass and start broadside me,” Sandy recalled.
He said that the men took him back to where his other fallen colleague was and put them both to kneel on the road and continued to lash them about their bodies, despite their pleas for the mob to check out their story that they were from the GSA and were going to a party.
Sandy said that by then almost the entire village had come out, and even the children and women joined in the beating.
The beating subsided when two men managed to convince the mob that they should wait for the police to come and then hand the youths over.
But the lull was just temporary.
“Some of them still want to continue beating we, they even threatening to chop we up. A lady was videotaping it, saying that we look guilty,” the GSA student told Kaieteur News.
Fortunately, Allon Francisco who had managed to make it back to the school, informed the authorities there, and the police at the Beterverwagting Police Station were contacted.
According to Sandy, they endured 20 minutes of beating, before the police arrived and rescued them.
As they were heading out of the village in the police vehicle, they spotted their colleague Michael Layne who was all covered in blood.
“He had run into a yard and they cornered him there,” Sandy who hails from Berbice said.
The wounded students were then taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital where they received treatment.
“While the police carrying us to the hospital, we realized that Orson was missing. It was only after we returned from the hospital and was in our dorm that we heard a knocking; it was Orson. He said he managed to hide in a yard for three hours,” Sandy said.
Another colleague, Ryan managed to escape the beating too.
“We really thought that they would kill us because they tell us that we lucky the police arrived,” Sandy said.
Divisional Commander Marlon Chapman told this newspaper that the matter is being thoroughly investigated. He said that up to yesterday his ranks had arrested three persons and they were still looking for others.
“You can’t just beat people like that. Everybody is not a thief,” the Commander said.
He explained that the students will be called to participate in the identification of the suspects at identification parades to be held soon.
“As they are arrested, the students will be contacted,” Assistant Commissioner of Police Chapman said.
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