Bandits mutilate shop owner, wife in Sisters Village attack

Goberdhan Mahabir and his wife, Haimwantie Mahabir.

A Sisters Village shop owner and his wife were seriously injured on Monday evening when they were attacked by cutlass-wielding bandits, who robbed them of the day’s sales.

Goberdhan Mahabir, also known as “Gavin,” 52, and his wife, Haimwantie Mahabir, called “Sangeeta,” 46, who sustained several chops and stab wounds about their bodies, are currently admitted at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH). Goberdhan’s condition is listed as stable, while his wife is said to be critical.

The attack took place at the couple’s Lot 3 Nowrang Dam, Sisters Village, West Bank Demerara residence, which also houses their business, popularly known as “Gavin Shop.”

At around 9.30pm on Monday, the Mahabirs were about to close for the day when four masked men, who were dressed in black and armed with knives and cutlasses, scaled their fence.

A man, who was reportedly unmasked during the attack, has since been arrested. “Prompt action by the police has led to the apprehension of a male who fits the description of one of the suspects,” the police said in a statement, which was issued yesterday.

The police noted that after pouncing on the couple, the robbers demanded cash and other valuables.

However, not satisfied with what they got, the police said the suspects stabbed and chopped the victims before fleeing the scene.

When Stabroek News visited the crime scene, spots of blood were observed at the entrance to the shop.

Neighbours and members of the Mahabir family gathered to discuss the attack, which was not the first for the couple.

A niece, Shanti (only name given), explained that based on what the Mahabirs related to the family, Goberdhan had just padlocked their gate when he was attacked. “He tell we is turn he turn he back to go in the shop now and lock in the door when the four of them with big, big cutlass jump the front fence and start chop he and stab he up,” she said.

According to Shanti, while two of the bandits surrounded Goberdhan, the other two accomplices ripped open the door to the shop and they launched an attack on Haimwantie. “They scramble her (Haimwantie) and she start fight with them and they push she down and start juk up she and she start holler,” she said.

During the altercation, Haimwantie reportedly un-masked one of her attackers, who became angry and inflicted more injuries on her. He is said to be the man who is currently in custody. The men then took a box containing the day’s sales and escaped.

At this point, a passerby stopped his vehicle and rushed to the assistance of the couple.

An alarm was raised and he assisted in transporting them to the hospital.

The family said they learnt of the attack after Goberdhan called his brother-in-law’s house and summoned them immediately. “Bandit in the house and they killing we, y’all come quick,” relatives recalled him saying.

Meanwhile, a neighbour related that she was in her house when she heard Goberdhan shouting loudly for her. The woman, who wished not to be named, said that she then rushed to the front of her premises to ask what was happening.

“When I got to the front, I see he leaning to the fence and he tell me they just get rob, so we [she and her brother], go over. Then I see she [Haimwantie] walking, coming out from the shop. Like she barely mek it to get up and walk a piece and she collapse to the ground,” she said.

Relatives vented their anger over the repeated robbery of the couple, while noting that it was the third attack on them.

Last year, they said, bandits invaded the business and carted off a quantity of items. Fortunately, no one was at home.

“Enough is enough. This is the limit now man,” a frustrated relative said. She explained that Goberdhan has not been in the best of his health recently and as a result the shop is a critical means of livelihood for him and his wife.

Investigators, the police said, are making stringent efforts to apprehend the other suspects.

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