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26.05.2007 General News

Highway robbers attack travellers

By myjoyonline
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Travellers on board an Intercity STC bus from Kumasi to Bawku in the Upper East Region on Thursday came under the attack of highway robbers at the Nangodi Forest on the Bolgatanga-Bawku highway.

Wielding locally made guns, the robbers made away with an unspecified amount of money and personal effects, including mobile phones.

The four armed robbers also shot the driver of the bus in the left arm. The driver, whose name was given only as Mr Agyarko, is on admission at the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital where a surgery is expected to be performed on him to remove a pellet from his arm.

Although the police managed to arrive at the scene of the crime, they were unable to make any arrest as the robbers fled into a nearby bush.

But for the bravery displayed by two of the passengers who managed to flee the scene, several other commuters on board five other vehicles would have fallen victim to the robbers.

The two took advantage of an order by the robbers to disembark from the bus to flee the scene unnoticed. In the process, they managed to signal vehicles approaching the area to make a U-turn.

One of the passengers who fled told journalists that the robbery took place at about 3:15 a.m.

He said he was travelling on the Intercity STC bus from Accra to Bawku and when their bus negotiated a curve at a section of the highway, they saw an articulated truck parked almost in the middle of the road.

That forced the driver of the STC bus to slow down and the passengers on board realised that some tree stumps had been used to block the road.

According to him, when the bus slowed down, two masked men wielding a locally-made guns emerged from the bush and ordered the driver to stop.

He said the driver, in his attempt to stop the bus, was mistaken to be attempting to flee and the robbers fired at him through his side of the window.

According to the passenger, but for the timely intervention of the spare driver who got hold of the steering wheel, the bus would have run into a ditch.

The eyewitness said the robbers later boarded the bus and ordered all the passengers to disembark, adding that in the process he and his brother fled. They later signalled other drivers to stop and warned them of the danger ahead.

At the Zuarungu Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) Checkpoint, a message was relayed to the police, who responded swiftly, but when they reached the scene the robbers had fled.

The police, however, escorted the bus to Bawku, where the driver was admitted to hospital and a complaint later lodged with the Bawku Municipal Police.

A police source later confirmed the story to the Daily Graphic.