Kidnapped Debe businessman found tied to coconut tree in Couva

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police cars on a crime scene – File photo by Jeff K Mayers

A 26-year-old bar owner and gardener from Debe was kidnapped, beaten, robbed and left tied to a coconut tree in Couva on February 23.

The victim, Arshad Mohammed, of Gandhi Village, was found by a villager who alerted other villagers of Carolina Village and the police.

The ordeal began at around 11 am on Friday, when the victim was driving his red Nissan X-Trail along Rahamut Trace in Debe.

Reports are he had dropped off his mother in the garden moments earlier and was returning to their home.

While driving out, he stopped to remove a chain from the road to leave his garden.

He got back into the SUV when two men, each with a jersey covering their faces, accosted him and there was a struggle.

One told Mohammed: “Yuh going to die today.”

The two men overpowered Mohammed and tied his hands and feet, then put him in the back seat of his SUV.

Theybegan hitting him on the face and head, asking for $100,000 for his safe release.

They drove away with Mohmmed to a forested area at Phoenix Park in Carolina Village.

When they arrived at the then-unknown location, the men ordered him out of the SUV. Using a seatbelt, they tied him against the tree and drove off with his vehicle.

Around 4 pm, a passer-by heard Mohammed crying out for help.

The passer-by, who is a gardener from the area, alerted other villagers and the Couva police.

PC Chapman of the Couva CID and police responded, and Mohammed was taken to the Couva health facility and was later transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital.

Apart from asking Mohammed for the ransom, the kidnappers made no calls about it to relatives.

Newsday visited the family’s home in Debe on Saturday but Mohammed was not there.

A close female relative, who asked not to be named, said he had been discharged from hospital and deeply traumatised.

“They left him tied to the tree and in the sun to die. No ransom was paid.

“His vehicle was spotted twice in San Fernando. Two different people called us to say they saw it. One saw someone driving it on Mucurapo Street, and I cannot remember exactly where the other person saw it,” the relative said.

Only when the villagers rescued him did the family realise what had happened.

The relative added, “The chain across the road leading to the garden is to prevent vehicles from coming in. The chain was pulled when they arrived and when he was leaving it was also pulled, which was strange. So it seems the men were already in the drain waiting for him.”

MP for the area Dr Roodal Moonilal said it was a harrowing experience for the family.

“I have been in touch with his parents and other relatives. Thankfully, he was found in the afternoon by a farmer in Couva. Villagers rescued him, and the police arrived in quick time, and he was taken to the Couva district health facility,” Moonilal said.

The Opposition MP added, “It is an unspeakable amount of horror when your child is kidnapped this way. I do not want to give too much. Thank God the child was found and returned to the parents.

“It speaks again to the fact that this society is unpoliced and unpatrolled, and the criminals are having their way that they are now into body-snatching.”

No arrests have been made.

Sgt Nanan and PC Maingot are leading investigations.