One week has passed since 22-year-old Buxtonian Ishmael Archer disappeared, allegedly snatched from his village by four heavily armed men who forced him into a car, but relatives strongly believe that he is alive based on information relayed to them from an unknown caller.
Meanwhile the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), at a press briefing yesterday queried who could be responsible for the abduction as the police have denied involvement in the incident. A PNCR statement said “the abduction of Archer is reminiscent of the modus operandi of the phantom gangs which operated with impunity. This can only mean that these gangs are still in operation”.
The party said too that it cannot help but note the dangers of the re-emergence and use of phantom squads to fight crime. It therefore “demands that the security forces must take all, necessary action to ensure the safety and well being of Ishmael Archer. Failure to act might mean that Buxton and the rest of society could spiral downwards into that agonizing period in the history of this country when many individuals went missing and many were later discovered to have been killed.” The party said that it is the security forces’ most important order of business to root out the remaining “phantom gangs” less their activities invite retaliation.
Yesterday, one of Archer’s relatives told Stabroek News that she received an anonymous phone call from a boy who said that he saw some men taking Archer into the Agricola backdam. The relative said the caller spoke hurriedly and before she could solicit any information the line went dead. She said the family tried desperately to contact the individual but the telephone number that the person used was listed as private.
With worry evident in her voice, the woman assured this newspaper that Archer had had no problems with anyone, inside or outside of the East Coast community. The relative said since the incident the police have done nothing and haven’t said much.
In recalling last Thursday’s incident the relative said Archer left his Lot 63 Buxton Middle Walk home telling relatives that he was going to fetch water nearby for them to wash. The woman said that this was some time after 8 and the road was deserted. She said that shortly after Archer left, a girl from the village came to the home and related that men in a car had just picked him up at gunpoint and sped away. She said that at the time of the incident Archer was standing on a cross street between Middle Walk and Company Path road.
The woman said at the time there was a security operation in the area around that same time, and, armed with this knowledge she assumed that Archer had been picked up during a raid. However, she said she enquired about it from a soldier in the area and he said he knew about two “picks” but nothing about a car. The woman said that realizing that something was amiss she went to the police stations at Vigilance, Sparendaam, Eve Leary, Brickdam and Cove and John but she was either ignored or got no information regarding Archer’s whereabouts.
However, despite the little interest the family said that law enforcement authorities have shown in the matter so far, Archer’s relatives are still hopeful that he will soon be returned home unharmed.