March 21, 2023

Abu Bakr issues “threat” to Trinidad security forces

Abu-BakrFrom Caribbean360

Abu-BakrPORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday July 24, 2014, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government says “ all usual systems remain in place to deal with any or all threats to public safety” after the leader of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen group, Yasin Abu Bakr, said he was not prepared to “accept” security forces entering a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

Bakr, who lead an unsuccessful coup against the then ANR Robinson administration on July 27, 1990, said he was prepared to “respond appropriately” if the security forces continue “this transgression against us…end of talk.”

But in a statement issued late on Wednesday night, the Ministry of National Security said that regarding the public statements made by Bakr, it was advising citizens “that while there is no evidence of any threat, all usual systems remain in place to deal with any or all threats to public safety and security.

“These measures are part of the nation’s upgraded defence mechanisms which remain in place on an ongoing basis,” the Ministry said in its statement.

Bakr’s outburst during a radio programme here on Wednesday night followed .what he claimed was the unlawful detention of people at a mosque in Carapo, south of here earlier this week.

Bakr warned acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, National Security Minister Gary Griffith and Roger Alexander, head of the North Eastern Division Task Force that “the question of coming into the mosque in Ramadan and detaining people unlawfully will not, and I repeat will not be accepted.

“Big man Alexander, if you think you can do whatever you want and you are not accountable to God, Mr Commissioner of Police, Mr Griffith, this is Abu Bakr, I am saying if you continue this transgression against us, we will respond appropriately, end of talk.”

The police said they had detained 18 people, including Rajaee Ali, the coordinator of the controversial LifeSport programme here that Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar has removed from the Ministry of Sport and placed under the Ministry of National Security. She has also asked for an audit into the multi-million dollar programme.

Police said that the 18 people were detained for a variety of offences, including an alleged kidnapping of two Latin American tourists four months ago.

Earlier this month, two of Ali’s brothers were arrested by members of the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit. Two other men affiliated with the mosque were also detained. They were later released without charge.

Ali, a former murder accused, was arrested in May soon after the murder of prominent senior counsel, Dana Seetahal, who was killed on May 4. He was released without any charges being laid against him.

Police said then he was not a suspect in that killing and Ali has said he did not kill Seetahal.

Bakr said he intends to meet with senior police and national security officials on Thursday, noting that those detained during the police exercise on Tuesday had not yet been charged.

Williams had earlier defended the police action, saying that the arrests were lawful.

At least 24 people, including one government legislator, Leo Des Vignes, were killed when Bakr led 114 members of his Muslim group in coordinated attacks on the Parliament and the Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) station in his attempt to overthrow the then government

After six days of negotiation, the insurgents surrendered on August 1, and were taken into custody. They were tried for treason, but the Court of Appeal upheld the amnesty offered to secure their surrender, and they were released. The London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest court, later invalidated the amnesty, but the Muslimeen members were not re-arrested.

A number of people including former prime minister Basdeo Panday has testified before a Commission of Inquiry probing the events that led to the insurrection.

Bakr, 72, has in the past refused to testify before the Commission citing an ongoing case against him in the High Court.

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