– ranks abandoned police station to go on illegal raid
A police corporal and a constable are in custody for allegedly killing an unarmed Brazilian miner last Saturday during an unauthorized raid that they carried out after abandoning their posts at the Kurupung Police Station.
A release from the Force’s Public Relations Division stated that the ranks, a Subordinate Officer and a police constable, were under arrest “following the alleged murder of a Brazilian miner at Puruni.”
A gazetted officer and a team of policemen have been dispatched to the location to investigate the killing.
The body of Estevao Costa Marques was brought to the city yesterday.
Kaieteur News was told that the two ranks were expected to be escorted to Georgetown for further questioning.
The detained corporal is reportedly alleging that the constable shot Marques, while the constable has reportedly stated that he had returned fire after a man shot at him. However, there are no reports of police recovering any firearm from the slain Brazilian.
According to the police statement the ranks, who were stationed at Kurupung Police Station, abandoned the station on Friday morning. They left on an ATV armed with a .30 Carbine rifle and subsequently joined a boat and proceeded to a landing along the Puruni River.
“On arrival at the landing sometime around midday on Saturday, the Subordinate Officer claimed that he remained in the boat while the constable, armed with the rifle, exited and proceeded to a shop. “Shortly after, two loud explosions were heard which caused the Subordinate Officer to proceed to make enquiries.
“The Subordinate Officer claimed that the constable told him that a male discharged a round at him and he returned fire. The body of a male Brazilian was seen lying a short distance away. He was placed in a boat and taken to the main landing.
“Around the same time, another Subordinate Officer and a detective constable of the Bartica Police Station, who were in the area investigating a report of alleged threats, arrived at the scene and took possession of the rifle and alerted the Divisional Commander.
“A gazetted officer and a team of detectives have been dispatched to the area to investigate. Arrangements are in place for another Subordinate Officer and three constables to be dispatched to the Kurupung Police Station.”
Eyewitnesses, who provided some video footage to Kaieteur News, had reported on Saturday that two Police ranks who were raiding a mining camp some 20 minutes up the Puruni River from the Landing, shot and killed Estevao Costa Marques, after he ran as the ranks were carrying out the raid. Marques is said to have been undocumented.
Speaking through a translator, an eyewitness alleged that police ranks carrying out illegal raids often took gold and money from undocumented Brazilian miners.
The eyewitness alleged that the two accused ranks were conducting one such raid at around 13.00 hrs on Saturday.
As they approached the camp owned by Maria de Nazaré Costa Marques, the mother of Estevao Costa Marques, the miner made a run for the bushes.
The witness claims that “the police just point his gun and fired two shots”, with one hitting Marques in his back and the other hitting him at the back of his head. The witness said that the miner fell dead instantly, as “his head exploded.”
The witness said after the police shot the man, they clearly began to panic.
“They were attempting to dispose of the body; at one time they even tried to burn the body, but other miners started to create a scene. They (police) were telling the people to clear the area, but all the miners in the area came out and kept a watchful eye on them.”
The man’s mother held onto the body, while the two cops made several attempts to get the corpse.
The ranks finally wrapped the body in a length of plastic and placed it in the boat which had transported them to the location.
They then headed for the Puruni Landing and to Bartica.
The victim’s mother and stepfather, Elvide Pereira De Barros, made an attempt to follow the police boat, but were unable to because of the superior horsepower of the law enforcement vessel.
(Video of some of the scenes at Puruni Landing can be accessed online at the following link: https://youtu.be/4k-V-AwX1AY)
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