Jul 22, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Attacks by Venezuelan gangs on Guyanese – most of them miners – plying their trade in the Cuyuni River, Region Seven, have increased to the point where they are reportedly being threatened to make forced payments.
Commander of the Region Seven district, Dion Moore, during an interview on Tuesday with the Deputy Director of the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Stan Gouveia, said that the gangs “would stop Guyanese vessels and demand payments.”
Moore mentioned too that on some occasions, “they would threaten them as well” to make the payments.
The Commander revealed that the two gangs involved in the attacks on Guyanese are the Sindicatos and the Guerrillas. These two gangs operate from the Venezuela shore mainly in the Eteringbang, Makapa and Kuruchi areas along the Cuyuni River.
In order to counter the attacks, the Commander detailed that joint river patrols conducted by police ranks and members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) have been increased in the area.
Based on credible information received by this media house, one gang commonly known as “Los Sindicatos” has been operating in the area for the last six years. Its base, according to sources, is located in the Venezuelan Mining town of El Dorado.
The gang’s operation in the Cuyuni district commenced after they invaded a Venezuelan mine called Botanamu. During the takeover of that mine, they had reportedly slaughtered members of a rival gang that was working there and took full control of the area extending their territory with checkpoints along the Cuyuni River on the Venezuela shore.
Their checkpoints are located in the Makapa and Kurichi areas. Members of this gang have been accused of harassing and robbing Guyanese miners working in these areas. Some of them had in the past, invaded Guyanese mining camps and carted off many ounces of gold, this publication was informed.
Apart from this, they would also attack Guyanese vessels that refuse to stop at their checkpoints.
In 2018, they had attacked a vessel and shot a police rank, Quincy Alexander, who was a passenger on board. That police rank was airlifted to a city hospital by helicopter from a nearby mining camp.
A few years ago, the other gang known as “los Guerrilleros” or “las Guerrillas” entered the area and had setup its base in the Eteringbang area. Kaieteur News was told that one of its checkpoints on the Venezuela shore is located not too far away from the Guyanese military base and the Eteringbang Police Station.
Both gangs in their respective territories along the Cuyuni River are said to be involved in fuel smuggling activities and would harass Guyanese miners who use the river to transport their fuel.
They would demand that the miners pay ‘tax’ on each barrel. Based on recent information received, the rate is 0.2 to 0.3 grams of gold on each drum of fuel.
Moreover, if a miner or businessman passes through the territory of both gangs, then he has to pay double ‘tax’ – to the Guerrillas and Sindicatos.
According to information shared with this newspaper, a Guyanese who had refused to pay his ‘taxes’ was attacked by members of the Guerrilleros gang who tied him up and threw him into some bushes, leaving him there all day without food and water until he decided to pay.
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