Minutes after school was dismissed on Thursday, a West Ruimveldt Primary School teacher found herself staring down the barrel of a gun as bandits attacked her in her classroom and robbed her of nearly $300,000 in cash, jewellery and electronics.
The traumatised teacher, who spoke to Stabroek News on the condition of anonymity, could have lost much more in the attack, during which the men tried to shoot her and stab her as well.
Even though school had just been dismissed and scores of students were in the school yard, the armed bandits walked into the school and committed the crime. During a visit to the school yesterday, there was no security on site, save for a small chain and a padlock.
The teacher said that the 20-minute-long ordeal began at 3pm, while she was waiting on some of her students to complete recording the homework given. At the time, she was in her classroom, which is located on the eastern end of the building.
She said just as the school bell rang, a man entered her classroom and asked about a pupil by the name of ‘Junior.’ The teacher said she told the man that she had no pupil by that name but he insisted that the pupil was in her class and she assured him that that was not the case.
“He suck he teeth and he went away,” the teacher said. The gunman had also stopped and talked to another teacher, next to her classroom.
As she started to pack her bag, the teacher spotted the suspicious man walking by her classroom in the company of another man. Upon checking, she said they were at the back of the building chatting and staring at a fence. It was in the midst of her walk back to her classroom that she was accosted. “I felt someone snatch at me,” she said.
According to the woman, the men demanded that she hand over her bag but she told them she did not have a bag. “One pull out a gun and said, ‘Oh, you ain’t got no bag?”
The gunman, she recounted, then pulled the trigger but the gun did not fire. The gunman then opened the barrel of the gun to adjust the bullets but the weapon continued to malfunction. As a result, the man told his accomplice to “bore she and tek the chain off she neck.”
At that point, fearful of losing her life, the teacher said she burst the gold chain off her neck and handed it over to the bandits. “But what happened when I threw the chain to him, he fire a juk at me,” she said, “…and I jump back.” She said when she jumped backwards, her Blackberry Z10 smartphone, fell out of her hand and she ran to another classroom, while the bandit with the knife bent to retrieve the phone.
The bandits, suspecting an alarm had been raised, grabbed the teacher’s purse out her bag from a cupboard and then escaped. According to the teacher, the bandits got a hold of her purse after questioning the students. The purse contained US$100, $10,000 and a driver’s licence along with other documents.
The men exited over a fence on the north-eastern side of the compound, although one of the bandits left without his pants. She said after the pants got ripped on the fence, the bandit was forced to run away in only his boxers and a vest. He also left his slippers behind.
According to the teacher, the robbery was reported to the police and is currently under investigation.