|Avita’s dramatic rescue |
By NALINEE SEELAL Friday, June 27 2008
IN A DRAMATIC operation yesterday afternoon, police rescued kidnap victim Avita Bissoondath, 21, and in the process, shot dead one of her captors whom the officers spotted in a makeshift camp three miles down a precipice off the North Coast Road in Maracas.
The operation lasted close to three hours but in the end, a smiling Bisoondath surrounded by firemen from the Search and Rescue team was taken by stretcher to a waiting ambulance en route to hospital.
Her only words to officers after being rescued were “thank you, I am glad you all came.” She was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where she was reunited with relatives and treated for shock and trauma.
Police reports revealed that at about 10.30 am, officers of the Anti-kidnapping Unit (AKU), the Homicide Bureau, Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) and North-Eastern Task Force responded to a tip-off that Bisoondath was seen at North Coast Road.
A large contingent of heavily armed officers made their way three miles into the hilly terrain and reached a camp, where they saw four men running away.
The kidnappers who were armed with machine guns fired at the police who returned fire, hitting all three, with one dying on the spot while the others escaped in the forest. The sound of heavy gunfire lasted close to ten minutes.
Officers found Bisoondath in the camp, cowering in a corner with her hands covering her face. She witnessed the exchange of gunfire and was shaken up over the incident. Police officers took the injured kidnapper to the roadway at North Coast Road, but he was already dead by the time he was placed in an ambulance. A helicopter with officers of the Special Anti Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago( SAUTT) carried out a search for the escapees but they were not seen. The helicopter combed the hilly terrain for close to two hours but abandoned the search due to poor visibility. An All Points Bulletin was sent out to hospitals asking officials to report to police anyone seeking treatment for gunshot wounds.
Bissoondath was snatched last Saturday after being lured from her Lange Park, Chaguanas home by someone she knew. The person who reportedly lured Bissoondath away from her Lange Park home, has been in police custody since Tuesday. Relatives received a ransom call from kidnappers on Tuesday night who demanded $300,000. Senior police officers commended the rescue team.