Kalamadeen beheaded-police question four men
Stabroek News top story. Thursday 1 May 2008
By Nigel Williams and Heppilena Ferguson
Police up to late yesterday were questioning four men in connection with the abduction and slaying of city businessman, Farouk Kalamadeen whose headless body was found near a trench in Kingston early yesterday morning.
Jiffi Lubes shut tight yesterday
The men were called in for questioning by the police on claims that they knew about the businessman’s disappearance, a police source said last evening. It was not clear up to press time last night whether the men were still being questioned.
Family members yesterday placed a full-page announcement in today’s Stabroek News announcing the death of the Jiffi Lubes owner and details about his burial according to Muslim rites.
Kalamadeen disappeared while jogging on the Houston Public Road on April 2. He was not heard from since neither was there a ransom demand. In a terse statement issued late last evening the police said that the headless body of a man was found on Cowan Street, Kingston. The body was clad in a red jersey and black pants and was barefooted, the police release said. “By its general appearance, the body was later identified to be that of Farouk Kalamadeen by his son Irfan Kalamadeen,” the release added. Asked for a comment on the discovery, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee said that it was very unfortunate. He however declined to comment further, noting that he had not received a full report from the police on the matter as yet.
A search conducted yesterday morning in the Cowan Street trench for the head
Kalamadeen’s headless body was discovered on Cowan Street, Kingston, around 200 yards from Camp Street. The discovery was made by persons heading to work in the area sometime after 6 am and the police were notified; minutes later, they arrived on the scene. The body was clad in a pair of burgundy running shorts and according to investigators, may not have been there for long as it had what appeared to be fresh blood on his chest. It appeared that the man’s head, which had not been located up to press time last night, had been neatly and clinically severed. Signifi-cantly, there was no blood or any trace of it close to or around the body, which lay a few yards away from the nearby trench, indicating that Kalamadeen was killed somewhere else and his body dumped in the area.
When this newspaper arrived on the scene, a police car parked conveniently to create a cordon was present and several onlookers were gathered at the scene.
Minutes after the discovery, relatives of the Jiffi Lubes owner arrived on the scene and viewed the body. Residents occupying the Railway Embankment said they did not see or hear any strange sounds late Tuesday night or early yesterday morning.
One woman who lives just opposite where the body was discovered told Stabroek News that she owns several dogs and they would alert her if there were any strangers around. She said she usually woke up at 6 each morning and did the same yesterday.
“I come outside and I see four men in all over black clothes standing at the end there and I say must be a dead dog because sometimes people throw dead dogs there. But then I hear them saying that is a body they find,” she said. The woman said she did not see any vehicle or anything strange.
Her neighbour said she too did not hear anything and only learnt that a body was there when she awoke this morning to see a group of persons assembled.
Since his disappearance, the man’s business place has never really been closed. However, the doors to the usually busy auto shop were shut tight yesterday morning; several vehicles were lined up outside the shutters.
Two black flags hung on the eastern and western sides of the building and a few workers stood around. Queries by this newspaper revealed that staffers were told that the owner’s body was found and that the business place would be closed until further notice.
Yesterday’s discovery of the businessman’s body ended almost one month of speculation, reports and arrests. Ironically, the body was found around the same time that the man disappeared exactly four weeks ago.
His abduction and subsequent decapitation raise serious questions about the police’s ability to solve these cases and whether Eve Leary had activated its anti-kidnapping squad.
“We are accepting that the body is his because his son has seen the body and knows his father,” Kalamadeen’s sister-in-law Bibi Shadick said yesterday morning. However, she said relatives would ensure that DNA tests were done for confirmation.
The discovery of the body was preceded by an attack on the East La Penitence Police Station on Tuesday night. Two days after the businessman’s disappearance, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud when asked whether the police had activated its anti-kidnapping squad, said there was no need to do so as there was no certainty that Kalamadeen had been kidnapped. He later confirmed that the businessman was abducted. Eyewitnesses reportedly told police that he was picked up by men in a dark-coloured vehicle. The relatives of the 54-year-old former motor racer and the security forces had conducted numerous checks in and around the Houston neighbourhood, but other than apprehending a few suspects they had collected no substantial evidence. During several interviews with this newspaper, the businessman’s relatives had expressed optimism about his safe return.
Meanwhile, only last week Wednesday, a member of the Special Constabulary was among four persons arrested by the police during a search at a Princes Street house on Tuesday night in connection with Kalamadeen’s abduction. An unlicensed .32 pistol and five matching rounds were also seized from the house, a police statement had said.
According to the statement, about 8:30 last Tuesday night, while conducting investigations into a report of abduction, ranks searched a house on Princes Street, Georgetown, where the weapon and ammunition were found. Four men were arrested.
Prior to last week, the police had arrested three men, but later released them.
Stabroek News had been told earlier that Kalamadeen had been abducted by foreigners with whom he had problems, but his wife, Nariman Kalamadeen, had said that was not so.
Kalamadeen left his D’Aguiar Park, East Bank Demerara home around 6 am on April 2 to go on his daily jog. He was last seen wearing a blue sweat suit, track boots and a cap. Family members said they had checked every corner in the Houston, Mandela Avenue area and interviewed almost all the security guards in the block but no one had a clue as to where the former motor racer might be.
Mrs. Kalamadeen told this newspaper in an interview on April 3 that it was clear her husband was being held against his will, but for reasons she did not know.
The businessman’s wife said that when he had left his home that morning he did not have his cellular phone with him but this was not strange, as he did not usually carry it when exercising.
She said it normally took him 30 minutes to complete his exercise.
Mrs Kalamadeen said then that from all appearances her husband might have been snatched as soon as he exited the gated Barrington Place, D’Aguiar Park community, noting that none of the security guards along the route he walked every day had seen him that morning.
Two weeks ago, Shadick had told this newspaper that the people who were holding him were confused. She asserted that relatives were not giving up hope. Shadick also had said that in Guyana whenever someone wanted to kill you they would do it. Reacting to reports that Kalamadeen might have been held over some transaction, Shadick, an attorney-at-law and member of parliament, said such rumours abounded but the man’s relatives had not given them any credence. She told this newspaper that they had received a telephone call from overseas where the caller informed them that an official working on behalf of the government said that Kalamadeen was being held by a local drug enforcement agency.
Shadick said too that there had been rumours that he was being held by the US.
Stabroek News was told that Kalamadeen, apart from operating his automobile service centre, was also involved in gold mining. Back in 2002 at the height of the crime wave gunmen believed to have been the prison escapees had attempted to rob a house in Section ‘K’ Campbellville. Kalamadeen had told this newspaper that he responded to the attack. At the time, he was residing in the area.