Friday, August 31, 2012

Ablekuma rioters appear in court

AUGUST 29, 2012 (Page 3) EIGHT persons, including two chiefs, who allegedly caused chaos at Ablekuma last Saturday, were today arraigned before the Accra Circuit Court in Accra, following last Saturday’s chieftaincy violence at Ablekuma, a suburb of Accra. They pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit crime, rioting with offensive weapons, and rioting. The chiefs, Nii Kweku Fosu III, 56, and Nii Larbie Mensah, 67 were each granted bail in the sum of GHC20, 000 with two sureties each by the court presided over by Mr Francis Ofori while the six other accused persons namely Nii Adjin Kofi, 67, Asafoatse Abeka Abbey, 49, and secretary to Nii Larbi Mensah, Mustapha Adjin Tetteh, 42, Nii Kotey Nartey, 58, Ebenezer Ayeh, 50, and Fatau Mohammed, 19 were remanded to reappear on September 4, 2012. A chieftaincy clash broke out at Ablekuma on Saturday and in the process, three persons lost their lives. Four others sustained various degrees of injury and are currently receiving medical treatment. Supporters of Nii Kweku Fosu III and Nii Larbie Mensah, who are both claimants to the Ablekuma stool, engaged in shooting and arson last Saturday while marking the Homowo festival. Presenting the facts of the case, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr Kofi Blagodzi, told the court that on August 25, 2012 at about 2:30 pm, the Greater Accra Police Command received several distress calls from residents of Ablekuma about indiscriminatory firing of gunshots by two rival chiefs and their followers at Ablekuma. The Command quickly dispatched a heavily armed Police team led by DSP Osei Agboya to proceed to Ablekuma to bring the situation under control. The police upon reaching Ablekuma, found two deceased persons identified as Wulomo Nii Tetteh Sarfo and Emmanuel Nartey with gunshot wounds near Nii Kweku Fosu’s palace. The entire palace was also vandalized with two vehicles parked in the compound burnt beyond repairs. Four persons who sustained gunshot wounds were also conveyed to the Police Hospital for treatment. The police retrieved 64 spent cartridges, one live catridge and 16 abandoned motorcycles suspected to belong to the culprits. Further investigations also disclosed that Nii Kweku Fosu III and Nii Larbie Mensah, 67 werer two rival chiefs all based at Ablekumah each claiming ownership of the Ablekuma township with their respective palaces and with their subjects. On August 25, 2012 all the accused persons decided to celebrate Homowo festival at Ablekuma at the same time using the same principal town route. Further investigation revealed the two chiefs who were well aware of the implications of their intended action, respectively hired the services of two armed thugs groups identified as “UN-Boys” headed by one Nii Ofori based at Sowutouwm and Djona Boys headed by one Moses also based at Djona , to assist them to celebrate the Homowo festival. The two rival factions eventually clashed at a spot called Ablekuma junction whilse sprinkling Kpokpoi. In the ensuing scuffle, Nii Kweku Fosu and his followers escaped to their palace but they were pursued by the other faction resulting in the exchange of fierce exchange of gunshots leading to instant death of two persons. One of the injured victims, Aventus Modestu, died on August 26, 12, at the Police Hospital. Earlier, Mr T. N. Ward Brew, counsel for Fosu, Abbey and Nartey told the court that Fosu was the substantive chief at Ablekuma in line of succession. According to counsel, his clients were the ones who were attacked adding he will lead evidence to prove his clients were the victims. He further maintained that it inappropriate for the police to accuse his clients of any offence. On his part, Dr Josiah Aryeh, counsel for Nii Larbie Mensah said the facts presented by the prosecution were contradictory to the real issues. He said he will lead evidence to prove the innocence of the accused person. Mr Blagodzi objected to the grant of bail but the court used its discretion and granted bail to the two rival chiefs.

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