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02.11.2007 General News

Blood Bath At Anloga

One of the injured being helped to a bed by health workers at the Keta Hospital.One of the injured being helped to a bed by health workers at the Keta Hospital.

Three persons were killed yesterday at Anloga when riot police tried to quell disturbances during the performance of final rites to make way for the installation of an Awoamefia.

Francis Nyonyo Agboada, alias Regent Torgbui Sri III, was to have been installed as the Awoamefia of the Anlo traditional Area

A superintendent of police, identified as the commander in charge of operations of the detachment which was deployed to Anloga to enforce peace during the disturbances, was said to have been critically wounded, while some reports claimed he was dead. He was identified as Edwin Mifetu.

Those confirmed dead were identified as Israel Ahadzi, 28, Mama Senyo, 48, and Menco Tugba, 47, all residents of Anloga.

The two wounded policemen were Bismark Owusu and Daniel Appetey, while the civilians were Golomeke Quarshie, 34, Hodzi Ben, 35, Alorvor Hornam and Gakpo Gabby.

Another policeman, together with his AK 47 rifle and ammunition, was said to be missing while more than a dozen other people were injured.

A detachment from the 66 Artillery Regiment in Ho, under the command of Lt. Col. Emmanuel Kotia, has been deployed to Keta and some vantage areas around the township to assist the police.

The atmosphere in the town was tense, with some wailing and angry at the bloodshed which had engulfed the town as a result of Torgbui Sri's desire to claim the paramount stool.

For his part, Torgbui Sri described the violence as the work of illegitimate people who were interfering in the affairs of the Anlo state and trying to manipulate the process.

He said he had a legitimate claim to the stool and those making noise about his ellegibility had no knowledge of Anlo history.

Togbui Sri also dismissed claims that a court order had been issued to restrain the kingmakers from installing him as the Awoamefia of the state. He said nothing would stop the kingmakers from going ahead with the process to install a chief.

Eyewitnesses said the police clashed with the angry crowd at the Toli Shrine in Anloga, creating chaotic scenes and running battles during which the three civilians were gunned down but the circumstances sorrounding the injury of the police officer were not yet known.

The woman among the dead was said to be a fetish priestess from the town. Yesterday's event involving Torgbui Sri had been planned for 12 noon to precede the celebration of the annual Hogbetsotso, a grand durbar scheduled for tomorrow at Anloga.

However, by 11.30 am, angry youths of the town, opposed to Nyonyo Agboada, and intent on preventing his installation as the paramount chief, massed up around the sacred Toli Shrine at Vornugah, close to the Anloga Market, where the religious purification was to take place.

Eyewitnesses said a cow meant to be sacrificed for the occasion was captured by the youths and burnt. The fire from the burning cow was said to have consumed part of the shrine.

Before the ceremony could begin the policemen tried to disperse the youths They then followed up by shooting into the crowd, dropping the three who were pronounced dead by Dr Felix Tsidi the Superintendent of the Keta Government Hospital when they were sent there.

According to Mr Koku Agbetorwoka, a Secretary to the Awadada of Anlo and the Agave clan, the crowd, made up of clan members opposed to Mr Agboada's candidature for the stool and some youths, tried to prevent the kingmakers from entering the shrine of the deity Toli with a cow.

He said Toli did not accept cows but the kingmakers tried to enter with the cow and to prevent that, the crowd blocked the entrance to the shrine.

Mr Agbetorwoka said the police also tried to force their way through and shot at the crowd in the process, killing the three.

The fetish priestess killed in the riot, according to him, was not from the Toli shrine, but another area and was going about her own business when she got caught up in the commotion.

The Police High Command in Accra also reacted swiftly to the disturbing situation and dispatched two senior police officers from the Police Headquarters to join the advanced contingent in the Volta Region to bring the chaotic situation there under control.

Story by Timothy Gobah, (Additional files from Caroline
Boateng & Michael Donkor)