Monday, November 16, 2009

BLOODY WEEKEND...Boy, 6, beheaded at Abesim, Woman, 30, killed at Okorase, 4 Robbers gunned down in Ksi (LEAD STORY, NOV 16)

Story; Akwasi Ampratwum Mensah & Samuel Duodu at Abesim, Nana Konadu Agyeman at Okorase & Kwame Asare Boadu in Kumasi

THE grisly murder of a famous business woman, 30, near Koforidua, the gruesome beheading of a six-year-old boy near Sunyani and the gunning down of four armed robbers in Kumasi in a shootout with the police marked a weekend of blood and horror for some residents of those parts of the country.
At Abesim, near Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, hundreds of residents besieged the crime scene, eager to catch a glimpse of Ernest Kwame Awuah, alias President, who was on display with the mutilated body of his six-year-old nephew, Charles Sey.
Awuah allegedly pierced Charles’s right eye and ear and then slashed his throat.
The victim was the son of the suspect’s younger brother.
Briefing the Daily Graphic after the bizarre incident which happened about 11 a.m. on Saturday, the Sunyani Municipal Police Commander, Superintendent Charles Botwe, said following a report from a resident, he dispatched a team of policemen to the deceased’s grandmother’s house where the little boy lived and the team found the suspect carrying the body of the boy on his lap in a room where he had allegedly committed the crime.
Charles’s body has been deposited at the Regional Hospital in Sunyani for autopsy.
According to Mr Botwe, the police had found it difficult to take a statement from the suspect, since he was behaving abnormally, but noted that a caution statement had been taken from the suspect’s father, while the police were yet to take another one from Charles’s grandmother, after which Awuah would be put before court.
An uncle of the boy’s, Mr Kwasi Ollu, a farmer, told the Daily Graphic that Charles’s mother, who is staying in Techiman, was yet to be informed about her son’s death, saying that she separated with the boy’s father about five years ago when they were staying together at Tanoano, a farming community near Abesim.
At Okorase in the New Juaben municipality of the Eastern Region, news of the Sunday morning murder of Rita Baah, affectionately called Afia Atta, allegedly by a fetish priest, spread like bush fire throughout the town.
The deceased, a resident of Effiduase in Koforidua who operates a cosmetics shop and a boutique at the Daasebre Roundabout in Koforidua, was said to have been hit several times on the forehead with a hammer by the fetish priest at his shrine at Okorase about 12.30 a.m.
After the crime, Joseph Tetteh, the 35-year-old traditional priest, popularly known as Mallam, was reported to have tied the victim’s hands and legs, covered it with a cloth and placed it on his motorbike in an attempt to dump it at a spot far away from Okorase and create the impression that she had been knocked down by a vehicle.
However, luck eluded him when he was spotted by some passengers travelling along the Okorase-Mamfe road about 1.30 a.m. with the body of the deceased strewn across the motorbike.
He was reported to have swerved to the left of the road where he abandoned both the body and the motorbike and fled into a nearby bush at Tei Nkwanta near Okorase.
That was after the passengers in the vehicle travelling from Aburi to Koforidua attempted to question him over where he was taking the body to.
Briefing the Daily Graphic in Koforidua, the New Juaben Municipal Police Commander, Superintendent John A. Naami, said about 12.30 a.m. the police received a distress call from some travellers at Tei Nkwanta that they had spotted a man conveying a dead body on a motorbike.
He said the passengers told the police that the fetish priest had been seen driving from Okorase to dump the body by the roadside to create the impression that the deceased had been knocked and killed by a vehicle.
When the passengers attempted to question him as to where he was taking the body, the fetish priest was said to have fled into the bush.
Supt Naami said a team of police investigators was immediately dispatched to the scene where they found Rita’s tied body covered in a cloth and strewn across the motorbike, with registration number GN 8843 Z.
He said the police traced the motorbike to the fetish priest’s house but they never found him. However, some of the youth of Okorase and Tei Nkwanta, two neighbouring communities, mounted an intensive search and arrested Tetteh in a bush at Tei Nkwanta where he was hiding about 1 a.m. on Sunday.
The timely intervention of the police saved him from being lynched.
During interrogation, Tetteh was reported to have told the police that some unknown people had killed Rita but that he had only attempted taking it to dump it somewhere.
The New Juaben Municipal Police Commander, who indicated that the police were carrying out further investigation into the murder, commended the residents of Okorase and Tei Nkwanta for helping to arrest the fetish priest.
Meanwhile, when the Daily Graphic visited the New Juaben Central Police Station, a large gathering of residents, including the family of the business woman and her boyfriend, was seen in utter shock and tears over Rita’s death.
In the Ashanti Region, the regional Police Command took the fight against armed robbery to another level at the weekend when they shot dead four suspected armed robbers, all believed to be in their late 30s, during a gun battle at Konkromase, a suburb of Kumasi.
Friday night’s operation was the second biggest police offensive against armed robbery in Ashanti this year and the dead suspects brought to 26 the number of armed robbers killed by the police in the region this year.
One of the four robbers was identified as Abdul Razak Ibrahim, alias Fante-Fante.
Razak, described as a hardened criminal, had earlier been arrested in a robbery case but he was granted bail by a Kumasi High Court in November 2006 but had since failed to appear before court.
Two others were identified only as Fiifi and Rashid, both ex-convicts, with the fourth one yet to be identified.
They were among a group of seven armed robbers who had gone on a robbery spree on the rainy night. They were actually in the process of attacking their fourth victim when men from the Police Buffalo Unit encountered them.
According to the police, those who managed to escape bolted with cash of GH¢95,000 believed to have been taken from victims of the robbery operations.
A number of offensive weapons, including four pump action guns, three locally manufactured pistols, 21 live ammunition, eight spent cartridges, one heavy-duty cutter and two mobile phones, were retrieved by the police from the scene of the shooting.
A KIA taxi, which the robbers had snatched from its driver, and a Nissan Pathfinder, which they took from its female owner after shooting her in the right shoulder, were later found abandoned at various locations in the city.
The woman was treated and discharged at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
Briefing journalists, the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Patrick Timbillah, said it all started about 6 p.m. when the robbers snatched the KIA taxi from its driver at gunpoint at Buokrom, a Kumasi suburb.
They then used the taxi in the second operation in which they attacked a woman about 7 p.m. at Atonsu, also in Kumasi, and snatched her Nissan Pathfinder from her.
DCOP Timbillah said the robbers shot the woman, who was returning from work, before taking her vehicle away.
They abandoned the taxi and used the Nissan Pathfinder to attack a man who had just arrived in Kumasi from Accra at Asokwa and took away his bag containing GH¢95,000.
DCOP Timbillah it was when the robbers went on the fourth operation at Konkromase that the police pounced on them. About 8.30 p.m., they attacked a house at Konkromase and when the police reached there, the robbers opened fire on them.
He said the police returned fire, killing the four, while the three others escaped.
The Nissan Pathfinder was later found abandoned at Buokrom, together with the bag which contained the GH¢95,000.

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