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Stolen AK-47s:
FBI helps identify suspects
-- TT coup suspect held
THE United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has helped local investigators identify several suspects in the case of the 30 high-powered AK-47 rifles and five pistols stolen from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) headquarters, the Army announced last night.


'Lund chus', President Jagdeo, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces

And a Trinidadian terrorist suspect wanted by Trinidadian authorities has been held in a raid here by the Joint Services in the continuing search for the stolen weapons, the Army said.

The GDF said the Trinidadian being held by Police has identified himself as Mustafa Abdullah Muhammad, also known as Edmund DeFreitas, who is wanted by the Trinidadian authorities.

The man, the Army said, claimed he was a bodyguard for a known local narcotics trafficker (name given) and he was allegedly involved in the coup by the radical Jamaat Al Muslimeen group against the Trinidad and Tobago Government in 1990.

The Army said Muhammad is wanted in Trinidad for his alleged involvement in a murder attempt on a former member of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen, led by Yasin Abu Bakr.

Word of the arrest of the wanted man came as the GDF announced progress in the shocking theft of the AK-47s and pistols from a bond at its Camp Ayanganna headquarters in Georgetown.

An Army press release said the FBI is “working closely” with it in the missing weapons case.

It said the GDF investigation is progressing and several suspects have been identified.

The FBI assisted the GDF in conducting several polygraph examinations and interviews and the investigation produced additional leads that are being analysed by the FBI, the Joint Services and other organisations here and in the U.S., the release said.

The Army said the FBI is continuing to assist with the investigation.

The wanted Trinidadian was one of five persons arrested Wednesday morning, when the Joint Services swooped on a home in Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara.

A Joint Services source said several items were also seized in the raid.

The Jamaat al Muslimeen is a Muslim organisation in Trinidad with a membership of predominantly Afro-Trinidadians. The appeal of its doctrines to the poor and displaced classes of society has seen its membership and popularity increase.

Its leader Bakr led 114 members of the Jamaat in an attempted coup against the elected Trinidad and Tobago government on July 27, 1990.

Forty-two insurgents stormed the Red House – the seat of Parliament -- and took the then Prime Minister A.N.R Robinson and most of his Cabinet hostage, while 72 of their compatriots attacked the offices of Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT), then the only television station in the country and the Trinidad Broadcasting Company, then one of only two radio stations.

Over a six-day period members of the government, including the Prime Minister, were held hostage at gun point while chaos and looting broke out in the streets of the capital Port of Spain.

After six days of negotiation, the Muslimeen surrendered on August 1, and were taken into custody. They were tried for treason, but the Court of Appeal upheld the amnesty offered to secure their surrender, and they were released. The Privy Council in Britain later invalidated the amnesty, but the Muslimeen members were not rearrested.

About 40 people died during the coup attempt, with millions in property losses.

Present and past members of the organisation have been connected or prosecuted for serious violent crimes, including drug and gang related killings and a current spree of kidnappings for ransom of members of the Trinidad upper and middle class.

Bakr is being prosecuted with conspiracy to murder several of the group's former members who had spoken out publicly against the Jamaat al Muslimeen and its practices, and who were suspected of becoming witnesses in legal proceedings against its members.

They are under surveillance by the local National Security Agency as well as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for suspected terrorist relations with the Middle East, as are two other Muslim factions.

Friday, May 05, 2006