CJFE condemns Attack on the Guyanese Daily Kaieteur News

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) condemns the murder by armed gunmen of five workers for the Kaieteur News printing plant on Tuesday. Near-simultaneous shootings happened at Bagotstown and the Georgetown prison. Violence in Guyana has been escalating in the run up to the August 28 election. On Tuesday night at least 12 gunmen reportedly arrived at the gate of Kaieteur News printery, shot the guard, and invaded the premises.The six staff on duty hid from their attackers in the lavatory, but were called out of hiding and ordered to lie face down on the floor while one man remained hidden, according to Kaieteur News. The five were shot in the head at point blank range.One of these five, Shazim Mohamed, survived and is in critical condition at Georgetown Public Hospital. According to the BBC, the man who remained in the bathroom, Julius DeGrace, is unharmed. Mark Maikoo, Chitram 'Boyo' Persaud, Eon Wigman, and Richard Stuart are dead."This appalling violence cannot be ignored," said CJFE President Arnold Amber. "The gunmen who committed the act must be brought to justice swiftly and measures must be taken to ensure the safety of all media workers."These attacks occurred on the same day that violence erupted in the village of Bagotstown, where one man died and four were shot, according to Kaieteur News. The newspaper also reports shooting in a Georgetown prison after rioting among the inmates.It is unclear what the motive was for the attack on the printery. However, the daily's owner, Glen Lall, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that Kaieteur News' recent coverage of Georgetown rapings had resulted in threats towards the newspaper.CJFE urges police commissioner Henry Greene to follow through on his promises to conduct a "ruthless search for those who might be involved," and ensure that the murderers responsible for this deplorable attack are brought to justice.CJFE is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world. For more information, contact Julie Payne at (416) 515-9622 or send an e-mail.

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