Rice farmers burnt to death by bandits

– botched robbery angered gunmenBy Kizzy ColemanPandemonium broke out at Good Hope, East Bank Essequibo (EBE) late Sunday evening, when an elderly couple were horrendously burnt alive by bandits who set their house alight after a botched robbery.Dead are Bibi Munir, 70, and Mohammed Munir, 77, of Lot 16 Good Hope, who were both prominent rice farmers in Region Three.According to reports, at around 23:15h on Sunday, several armed bandits invaded the couple’s premises but they managed to secure themselves in one of the bedrooms.The ravaging blaze on Sunday nightWhat is left of the rice farmers’ houseAfter not being able to gain access to the couple, the angered bandits then doused the house with gasoline and set it alight.Speaking with this publication an eyewitness said she heard what sounded like gunshots and got out of bed to investigate.“I was in my bed when I heard gun shots. I got up and looked outside and I saw the fire and ran outside. When I got outside I was shocked to see that no one was on the road even though there was a huge fire but I was not aware that people were scared because they heard Uncle Munir screaming thief! thief!”According the eyewitnesses, the couple was heard screaming for persons to break a door of the heavily grilled house so that they could escape the fire. They were seen through a window in the room in which they were trapped.“A bus driver started to honk his bus horn and then people started to come out to lend assistance but by then the house was almost covered in flames, so no one could really do anything. Uncle Munir was at the window begging for people to use chains to pull out the grilled window so that he and his wife could come out but the heat was too much,” the woman explained.She added that the now dead man was also giving instructions for neighbours to drive his two tractors out of the yard to prevent them from exploding to which a neighbour complied.Meanwhile, a businessman known as ‘Dumb boy’ told this publication that after he heard the screams, he went to investigate and it was then that he recognised men armed with guns manoeuvring in the couple’s house.He added that in an attempt to alert neighbours, he got out his licenced gun and discharged several rounds in the air.“I saw them in the house and I just went and got my gun and I fired a few shots in the air to alert people of what was happening.”This publication was told that Jamila Munir had telephoned a businessman in the area, Shiraz Ally, as her house was going up in flames providing him with details as to what was transpiring and pleading with him for help from the deadly blaze.It is believed the gunmen used the street behind the couple’s house to gain entry to their yard and eventually their house since persons in the area stated that they did not see anyone enter from the front (the public road) entrance.According to reports, on Saturday night a tinted silver grey Toyota Allion car was “lurking” in the area and it appeared “suspicious”.Reports stated that the same car was spotted again hours before the fire occurred.When Guyana Times visited the scene Monday morning, the charred remains of the couple were being removed by undertakers as relatives wailed in agony.Regional Executive Officer Denis Jaikaran was on scene and expressed sadness at the ‘tragedy’.The police in a statement Monday said they are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deadly fire.A team of investigators had already visited the scene and took statements from neighbours.The post mortems have confirmed the couple died as a result of smoke inhalation.The elderly couple leaves to mourn at least four children, siblings and other family. read more

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