Home > Crime and Security, Development, Foreign Relations, Guyana > U.S. calls on Guyana to investigate “death squads”

U.S. calls on Guyana to investigate “death squads”

GEORGETOWN -The United States on Monday called for Guyana to investigate reports that members of the security forces, sometimes employing criminals, murdered hundreds of people during the last 17 years.

In November, opposition political parties released a file listing 449 alleged extrajudicial killings in our country between 1993 and 2009, many blamed on an elite police unit called the “Black Clothes” squad.

The report also accused the government of equipping and employing a criminal gang of killers, known as the Phantom Squad, in an attempt to control a cocaine trade-fueled crime wave in 2002.

“Necessary steps should be taken to ensure that human rights are observed and protected and that where persons are found to be culpable of violating those rights they should be prosecuted,” U.S. Charge d’Affaires Karen Williams told reporters at the U.S. embassy in Georgetown.

She said the government’s investigation should be thorough and complete.

President Bharrat Jagdeo says the report is politically motivated and includes some people who died in car crashes and others who are listed as missing persons in the country of 760,000 people which won independence from Britain in 1966.

At a May meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Britain and Canada called for an independent inquiry into the accusations of death squad killings and other rights abuses.

The government has said it was unlikely to set up a independent commission because it had not seen sufficient evidence to merit an inquiry.

The Phantom Squad was believed to work largely at the behest of convicted drug kingpin Roger Khan and was said to include members of the Guyana Police Force, according to compilers of the report.

The ‘Black Clothes’ Squad was set up to deal with violent crime, but was disbanded following the allegations that it carried out extrajudicial killings.

(Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; editing by Pascal Fletcher and Mohammad Zargham – Reuters)

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