Phantom Death Squad (Guyana)

Country: Guyana
Details of Formation: Around 1999, drug trafficker Shaheed Khan formed a gang, the phantom death squad, at the urging of some members of president Jagdeo's regime. It is unclear if they immediately began working for the government, but the might have received some kind of governmental support through Jagdeo's then minister of national security Ronald Gajraj. In 2002, a gang of prison-escapees performed a series of murderous violence, which was then stopped by the phantom squad at Jagdeo's command. From this point on, the death squad can definitely be linked to the government. Apparently, there were 2 death squads in action, one formed by Khan and another one directly formed by members of the government.
Details of Termination: It is not explicitly stated that the group was officially terminated or ceased to be pro-government. However, one report says that the group was dissolved. Another source states that it was “retired” and the fact that there were rumours about its reemergence in 2008 (which the government denied) implies some kind of change in its activities.
Purpose: The group was formed to fight criminals in response to crime levels spiralling out of control, which the police was unable to counter on its own.
Organisation: Khan was the head of the death squad branch he initiated, while the other one was linked more directly to members of the government, with reports of significant involvement of Gajraj (Minister of Home Affairs at the time), who was found to be the group’s co-leader.
Weapons and Training: There is no evidence of training having been provided by government but members (especially of the branch established by Khan) were recruited from former members of the police or military and therefore likely trained. Reports state that the group was armed with automatic weapons.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: The group killed individuals extrajudicially, based on suspected criminal activity. There were accusations that innocent people have also been killed and that particularly Afro-Guyanese civilians were targeted. The PGM also carried out kidnappings. According to news sources, the police and military tolerated this behaviour. In total, it is estimated that the group killed 200 – 400 people.
Other Information: The group was also referred to as “Black Clothes Police”. Members were paid $200 - $500 per assassination.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.

Wikipedia. “Roger Khan.”

Wikipedia. “Ronald Gajraj.”