Trinidad – Swoop on Bakr
PORT OF SPAIN – Police yesterday executed an early morning surprise swoop on insurrectionist Yasin Abu Bakr and detained him as well as ten other people for questioning in connection with the murder of senior counsel Dana Seetahal.
At around 12.05 a.m. on May 4, 2014, Seetahal was assassinated while driving her Volkswagen Touareg SUV towards her apartment at One Woodbrook Place, Port of Spain. She was shot multiple times and died at the scene.
The detentions were made during an exercise at 4 a.m. that was carefully orchestrated and carried out in St James, Arima and Cocorite by several law enforcement agencies and known only to a few selected police officers.
Among the ten arrested and still in custody are Abu Bakr, two former Life Sport coordinators, a well-known Port of Spain gang leader, as well as the wife, father and brother of an incarcerated Carapo Muslim leader and three gang members.
Police sources say from midnight Sunday, officers of the Guard and Emergency Branch, Special Branch, the Western Division, the Northern Division and the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit took up strategic positions in close vicinity of the homes of those held.
But it was not until 4 am that law enforcement got the nod to proceed and detain the individuals for questioning.
The officers, upon knocking on Abu Bakr’s St James home, executed a search warrant for arms and ammunition.
However, nothing was found.
Abu Bakr was then detained and taken to the Central Police Station in Port of Spain to be questioned by ASP Rampersad.
Abu Bakr, sources added, was being kept at the station to be questioned for a variety of offences, but specifically, any potential involvement in Seetahal’s death.
Sources say following a meeting with his seniors, Rampersad will now question Abu Bakr today at 1p.m.
Law enforcement authorities were hoping to build a case that could point to conspiracy to murder based on telephone recordings and other vital “scientific information” they have gathered during the course of their inquiries, sources said.
The other individuals detained were questioned today by Cpl Jones of the CGIU.
All the detainees remain in police custody at separate police stations including Barataria, San Juan,Tunapuna and Arima.
Abu Bakr was visited by one of his wives Indrani around 3 pm yesterday while other family members were denied permission by the police to visit him.
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams told TV6 News yesterday that the operation was ongoing and he would not say anything until it had concluded, but did allude to the “Seetahal investigation” being a challenging one when he spoke in Tobago on Sunday prior to Bakr’s arrest.
Second in in command at the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen and welfare officer Kala Aki-Bua, believes that the entire incident was nothing more than “trumped up” charges, as law enforcement look to further persecute the Muslim organisation.
“The population is crying out. They want to know something, not only about Dana Seetahal’s murder, but look how much murders are unsolved in this country. The population is crying out ‘hold somebody! lock up somebody!’ and we are a scapegoat,” Aki Bua said.