Trinidad: Muslims 'uneasy' over plot against Kamla - Muslim academics among 12 arrested
From the Trinidad Express, Reuters Africa and the Trinidad Guardian
Twelve people are being held in police custody in connection with an alleged assassination attempt of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and three of her Cabinet Ministers — Attorney General Anand Ramlogan; Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal and Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma. The suspects were arrested at different times between Monday and yesterday by police and Defence Force officers.A 48-year-old man of Diego Martin, with links in Guyana, reportedly was arrested by officers of the Special Branch officers as his home on Wednesday night.
The man is said to have been a former member of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen and involved in the 1990 attempted coup. He also was found not guilty of a double murder which occurred at a popular nightspot in west Trinidad, several years ago. Two former soldiers, both dishonourably discharged from the Defence Force a few years ago, were arrested during police raids at their home on Tuesday night.
Two Muslim academics, of Princes Town, also were said to be arrested by police. The men are said to have studied in Saudi Arabia and spent time in the Middle East.
THE State is being called upon to identify which Islamic organisation is alleged to be involved in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and several senior government ministers.
General secretary of the Trinidad Muslim League (TML), Azid Ali, said yesterday his and other organisations are "uneasy" over the possibility that Muslims from a local group are behind the plan. I think they (the government) definitely have to clarify which particular group they have held members of and are questioning. This reflects badly on all of us Muslims. It not only tarnishes the image of those groups allegedly involved but on all Muslims."
Details of the planned assassination have been scarce since Persad-Bissessar announced on Thursday that security forces are on high alert since uncovering the plot.
On Wednesday, police arrested Selwyn 'Robocop' Alexis for his alleged connection to the plot, which security sources on Wednesday told the Express had targeted the PM, Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan, National Security Minister, Brigadier John Sandy, Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan, several others ministers and several senior police officers.
Several people arrested in connection with the plot are said to be practicing Muslims and a senior government minister on Wednesday also said the plot had its source in an "extremist fringe group".
On Thursday, some Muslims in Central Trinidad complained of being "branded" in a negative fashion, in light of the alleged plot.
Ali said he was not familiar with the problems being experienced by some Central Muslims, though he understands searches have been conducted at mosques and Islamic centres not only in Central Trinidad but other parts of the country.
Other reports suggest that the alleged plot was organised by the Army, others think it was by organised criminals anxious to resume their activities. Others think that the allegations are exagerated and designed to enable the governemnt to continue with the restrictions (curfew and suchlike) under the current State of Emergency in Trinidad and Tobago, imposed in order to deal with criminal gangs whose activities had got out of hand.