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08.05.2007 Crime & Punishment

Alleged Robber Roasted Alive

The sight of a 23-year-old man being roasted alive has hit the township of Tanoso on the Kumasi-Techiman Highway with the most horrifying form of instant justice.

With the charred remains of the victim still exuding smoke, eyewitnesses told newsmen that the chilling spectacle occurred when a mob captured the suspected armed robber from a nearby bush, brutally assaulted him and set him ablaze.

A Ghana New Agency report said the remains of the yet-to-be-identified suspect were left at the side of the highway for many hours, during which it attracted hundreds of curious spectators, some of whom were heard congratulating the perpetrators of the instant justice on "a job well done".

Eyewitnesses said on Sunday morning the alleged armed robber and an accomplice attacked the Galazy Oil Ghana Limited fuel station at the outskirts of Tanoso and, amid shots from an AK 47 assault rifle, took away about ¢41 million being the previous night's sales.

The witnesses said after the robbery, the suspects ran into a nearby bush, while somebody who had witnessed the crime rushed to the town and raised an alarm.

Dozens of residents responded to the alarm, mobilised men and weapons and mounted a hunt for the armed men.

During the search, the deceased was shot in the leg before being captured and taken to the filling station, where Mr Emmanuel Otchere, the Manager, kept him in a room for his own safety and went to report the incident at the police station.

Mr Otchere said ¢8.5 million and a mobile phone were found on the deceased.

Unknown to Mr Otchere, while he was on his way to the police station, the mob broke into his office, brought out the suspected robber, assaulted him for some time and then set him ablaze.

Asked why he could not initially send the suspect to the police, Mr Otchere replied that the irate mob was so incensed that he could have been lynched along with the deceased if he had attempted to do so.

He said a Burkinabe customer who had stopped at the station to buy fuel but had run into the bush when the suspected robbers opened fire was assaulted by the mob and nearly lynched when he was mistaken as the accomplice of the deceased.

Mr Otchere said the Burkinabe was taken to the Holy Family Hospital at Techiman and was admitted but enquiries at the hospital by the GNA, in the company of a policeman, revealed that his relatives had taken him away, since they were on their way to Burkina Faso when the incident happened.

The Techiman Municipal Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Kwadwo Peprah Addai, deplored the behaviour of the residents and reiterated the appeal to the people to desist from meting out instant justice to suspects.

He explained that such action affected police investigations into cases, since all clues of evidence could be destroyed through such behaviour.

"Such actions make our work difficult and I appeal to all and sundry to exercise patience and allow the police to unravel all leads into such cases," he added.

The Municipal Police Commander appealed to residents of the Techiman municipality to assist the police in their duties to operate efficiently and effectively to protect life and property.


Meanwhile, the search for the other suspect continues.