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29.10.2007 General News

Confusion Hits Sefwi Wiawso

By Daily Guide

A GROUP of youth in Sefwi-Wiawso in the Western Region have threatened mayhem in the community if a stalemate between them and the former health minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie is not immediately addressed.

Addressing a news conference in Sefwi Wiawso on Tuesday, the irate youth further threatened to take the law into their own hands to seek redress if the government and security agencies fail to order investigations into the impasse.

According to them, the former minister of health, last Thursday, October 18 allegedly slapped Kwabena Bennie, organizer of the community's youth association when misunderstanding ensued between Dr. Afriyie and some of the youth in the area.

DAILY GUIDE'S investigations have revealed that the ex-minister allegedly traded blows with Bennie when he, in the company of five others attempted to attack Dr. Afriyie near Liberty FM where he was going to start his health radio programme.

The clash, which followed protracted bad-blood between the ex-minister and some of the youth in the area was said to have almost turned bloody but for the swift intervention of the police.

As tensions heightened, it was alleged that a number of youth in the area went to the aid of Bennie in a bid to manhandle Dr. Afriyie but with the support of other people, he managed to escape unhurt.

It was alleged that in the ensuing melee, a relation of Dr. Afriyie named Kwame Adu fired several warning shots to disperse the rampaging youth.

Speaking at the conference, members of the youth association pointed out that since the former minister always took the law into his own hands and did things chaotically, they have also decided to advise themselves.

They warned that Dr. Afriyie could not assault someone without being brought to book so they would not sit down unconcerned for him to walk about freely on the streets.

Bennie alleged at the conference that on that fateful day, Dr. Afriyie approached him and asked if he was the one who always insulted him. He said before he could utter a word, the ex-minister slapped him, and a security man at Liberty FM held him so tightly that Dr. Afriyie managed to escape.

He said in the commotion, his mobile phone got missing and his shirt was torn to shreds.

According to Bennie, he has since lodged a formal complaint with the Sefwi-Wiawso police where he was issued with a form to seek medical attention.

He said although the police seized the gun said to have been fired by Dr. Afriyie's relation, no arrest was made.

When DAILY GUIDE contacted Dr. Afriyie at his clinic at Sefwi-Wiaso, he said he was provoked by Kwabena Bennie and other youth in the town but denied slapping him as is being rumoured in the media.

He said he was on his way to Liberty FM to do his health programme when the youth approached him and started heaping insults on him.

He said he initially thought the youth were returning from a funeral and were drunk so he did not take their actions seriously until he saw that they were determined to disgrace him publicly.

"So if they claim that I slapped any of them, I was not even aware of that and that might have come from my struggle with them to prevent them from causing any harm to me," he said.

Dr. Afriyie, who has also reported the matter to the police, suspected that the actions of the youth were deliberate attempts by some NDC thugs in the town to undermine his achievements in the area.

He said their actions were also a calculated attempt to create tension between him and members of the party.

The Assembly Member for Aboantam electoral area at Sefwi-Wiawso, Hon. Kwesi Anane when reached for his comment, appealed to the government to critically look into the troubles in the area.

When DAILY GUIDE contacted the Sefwi-Wiawso District Police Command they confirmed the incident but said it was too early for them to comment on it as investigations were on-going.

From Stella Danso, Kumasi

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