‘Lucky to be alive’ – abducted taxi driver

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Hours after being found alive, walking on the Annandale, East Coast Demerara road, 22-year-old, Matthew Shivtahal – the young man who was held at gunpoint and abducted by four hardcore criminals during the Camp Street Prison break on Sunday- says his pleading with his abductors and telling them he is a father, is what saved his life.

Matthew Shivtahal

As the young man recounted his experiences on Monday to media operatives, Shivtahal explained that on Sunday he was returning home on the East Bank of Demerara from Industry in the company of a woman and her children.

He said that upon hearing gunshots coming from the direction of the Camp Street prison, while on Broad Street, he attempted to turn around. However, he was too late since by that time, one of the four escapees was already in front of him with a gun pointed to his head.

Shivtahal related that they took him to a certain point with his vehicle which was then abandoned and he was then made to trek with them through swampy backlands.

“…ah had a lady and some children inside the car. They take out them, push me back inside the car [and we travelled] to South Backlands and we keep going down south, keep walking south, crossing  a lot of trenches, going down till to Land of Canaan.”

Shivtahal explained that after hours of walking, the group approached a large trench where men were expected to swim, however, he recalled telling them that he could not swim.

The audibly shaken Shivtahal  said “I can’t swim so they seh instead fuh I slow them down, best they kill me and done.”

The young man related that he pleaded even more than before for his life.

“I beg. I tell them that how I got a 1-year-old son, that I  wouldn’t like he to grow up without a father.”

The father of one related that upon hearing that, one of the fugitives believed to be Royden Durant Williams aka “Smallie” –who was sentenced to death for being involved in the Lusignan Bartica Massacre- released him.

“The rasta one…seh just because you tell me duh, ah gon leh you go and  the man show me a way weh fuh go out, walk down the dam, show me a way weh fuh go out [and I] cross over like four swamp, over a set of bridges, cut up meh foot…till last night 10 o’clock I came out. Since 12, Sunday night ah deh walking.”

The seemingly traumatized Shivtahal thanked God for saving his  life.

Following an attack staged by prisoners at the Camp Street Prison on Sunday, which resulted in the building being set alight and correctional officers being shot at and injured with their own firearms as well as make shift weapons, four hard core criminals, who were armed, managed to escape by hijacking a vehicle and holding Shivtahal, hostage.

Wanted bulletins were issued for Mark Royden Durant aka Royden Williams, Uree Varswyke aka Malcolm Gordon, and Stafrei Hopkenson Alexander.

Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels has now confirmed that there are Eight (8) fugitives missing from the Camp Street Prison following Sunday’s riot and fire.

Samuels disclosed that the number was  originally nine but one of the inmates; Shamudeen Mohamed was recaptured last night at Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo.

Investigations are ongoing. (Ramona Luthi)

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