Five persons including characters known to the police are in custody as investigators continue to probe the killings of Mohamed and Jamilla Munir, who were burnt to death in their Good Hope, East Bank Essequibo home on Sunday night.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum told Stabroek News last evening that investigators are working on several leads with the hope of making a breakthrough in the matter soon. Up to press time, the men were being grilled by the police.
A handyman of the elderly couple was arrested on Tuesday. Sources indicate that he may be one of the suspects currently in custody along with Winston Sherlock called “Quarters,” who was wanted for the abduction of Windsor Forest businessman, Tazim Gafoor.
Sherlock turned himself into the Leonora Police station on Tuesday accompanied by his attorney.
Mohamed, 75, and his wife, Jamilla, 70, who were well known rice farmers, died on Sunday night after bandits broke into their home and later set it alight.
Residents had told Stabroek News that the bandits scaled the veranda and cut the grill before smashing their way into the couple’s home through a glass door. After they were unable to gain entry to the Munirs’ bedroom, where they had secured themselves, the bandits apparently poured gasoline and lit a fire in front of the couple’s bedroom.
Some residents had said Mohamed had phoned them and told them that bandits had invaded his property. There were also reports of the sounds of gunshots during the attack.
The Munirs’ were both laid to rest yesterday according to Muslim rites.
Scores of people turned up at the funeral to bid farewell to the couple who was remembered for being an “embodiment of strength and goodness.”
In a very emotional speech, one of their grandchildren, Afifa Samad said her grandparents were not “an unfortunate statistic, they were part of our very being. We have all lost a part of ourselves and we are all suffering greatly.”
She described her grandfather as the” most hardworking, kindest, most compassionate, most gentle person. My grandmother was the greatest woman in the world, filled with love and incomparable strength. She was a driving force in our lives and her community.”
According to her, “They loved their families and they loved their country. They left us to better this beautiful land and we pray that this country would serve them justice that they deserve.”
She said they “fought for what they wanted their entire lives and they fought until their last breath. They are my example in this world. My grandparents would forever be in our hearts and in everything good that we do.”
Their son, Muntaz Munir, thanked everyone for being there to pay their respects to his parents. He was also grateful to relatives, friends and neighbours “who offered their assistance in their final moment. We weren’t here but you were and we would like to thank you.
Their daughter, Nazarene thanked the rice and Islamic organisations that her mother was a part of.
Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder was also there to offer his condolences on behalf of the government.
In his remarks, former president, Bharrat Jagdeo said that the couple’s lives epitomised hard work, dedication and commitment.
He said that as an executive member of the Rice Producers Association, Jamilla knew what struggle was.
According to him, “It’s a pity that in this country today that hard work seems not to be recognised and that people can come in such a callous manner and see the fruits of hard work and try to snatch it away.”
He said it is “not a political event because no government in the world can stop crime…”
He accused the government of not visiting “places where tragedies occur right across this country… but we see negotiations in the prisons with criminals…”
He said over 70 people were released… I have been asking until today to see the records of those people and there is no attempt on the part of the government to make those records public
Meanwhile, at the wake on Tuesday evening, One of Munir’s brothers described them as being “generous, simple and very helpful people. They lived very nice as husband and wife… they made a wonderful pair.”
According to another speaker, Azim, “We need to take a stand and say to the people in authority that we need protection. We need to stand in solidarity against what is happening in our country.”
He said too that crime is being taken to “another level and we will not stand up and take it.”
Former president, Donald Ramotar, in expressing condolences, said that all must be concerned about security.
He lamented that that was the reason why the Community Policing Group is very important.
He said the country has seen a lot of crime in the last few days and mentioned the young Wakenaam businessman who was killed in Georgetown on Tuesday.
President of the Guyana Islamic Trust, Shaykh, Aleem Rahim said the murders were “heartless and inhumane and it has shown the lack of mercy and the level at which we have sunk in our morality.”
He said too: “Islam teaches us mercy even to the animals, much less human beings. The fact that we can burn someone alive, prove that we have to reconnect with the creator and rebuild relationship with the creator.”
Chairman of the Good Hope/Hydronie NDC, Parsaram Persaud said not just the family but the community has lost a great couple at the hands of cruel people and called for justice to be served.