Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
THE Ashanti Regional Police Command has retrieved 78 weapons, including five AK 47 assault rifles and 91 rounds of ammunition, in an operation code-named “Operation Drag Net”.
According to the police command, the AK 47 rifles were those either seized from policemen on duty or stolen from police stations.
The other weapons include 23 shotguns, 42 locally-manufactured pistols and eight imported pistols, while the ammunition includes 56 packets of AA and BB cartridges, 23 single rounds for AK 47 rifles and 12 single rounds for G3 rifles.
The Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbillah, made this known when be briefed journalists on the arrest of three persons, including a 73-year-old businessman, for selling three foreign pistols and 12 rounds of ammunition.
Alhaji Azumah Zamramah, the businessman who lives at Alabar in Kumasi, Rauf Yussif, 55, a trader at the Timber Market, and Kwabena Nketiah, 42, a second-hand clothes dealer at Atonsu, were arrested upon a tip-off and in their respective statements to the police they admitted the crime.
Mr Timbillah said upon the tip-off, personnel of the Ashanti Regional CID and the Buffalo Unit arrested the suspects, who were selling the pistols at a unit price of GH¢600.
The Regional Commander said Alhaji Zamramah further stated that one Gao man was the source of his supply but could not mention his name.
He indicated that the police were preparing to prosecute them before a court in Kumasi.
Operation Drag Net, according to DCOP Timbillah, is aimed at gathering intelligence that would assist the police to, among other things, mop up illegal weapons from the system and arrest and prosecute the suspects, clamp down on drug users, and locate and destroy all hideouts of criminals.
He described the method as a preventive police strategy which also had the view to frustrating criminals by hitting at them before they struck.
The initiative is being supported by the already existing police reward system, which provides monetary reward of between GH¢1,000 and GH¢20,000 for informants who provide relevant information leading to successful arrests and prosecution of criminals.
DCOP Timbillah said under the scheme, 58 persons had already been prosecuted and serving various terms of imprisonment ranging from 10 to 35 years.
In addition, 18 criminal hideouts in various locations in the metropolis had been identified and destroyed.
The regional commander called for public co-operation to ensure the success of the operation, saying, “without public support, we can’t succeed”.
In a related development, the Drug Law Enforcement Unit in Kumasi has arrested two persons, Adongo Azure, 30, and Charles Ayine, 26, for possessing dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp. DCOP Timbillah said they were being processed for court.