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03.11.2007 Regional News

Court stops installation of Awoamefia

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The Fast Track Division of the High Court in Accra on Friday stopped the installation of Francis Nyonyo Agboada, Regent Torgbui Sri III, as the death toll in the riots at Anloga in a protracted chieftaincy dispute rose to six.

The court, granting an order for interim injunction, barred the kingmakers, the Anlo Traditional Council and any other persons or institutions involved in the preparation and installation of the Awoamefia of Anlo forthwith "from holding any event to install the person named Fracis Nyonyo Agboada, also known as Regent Torgbui Sri III, as the Awoamefia scheduled for Saturday 3rd November 2007".

The court, presided over by Justice Marful Sau, an Appeal Court judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, restrained the same parties from holding any meeting or event concerning or connected to the installation of Regent Torgbui Sri until further notice. The court further directed that the service of the order be effected by substitution through the electronic and print media.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Patrick Acheampong who instituted the action he was represented by Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Gertrude Aikins.

Mr. Ghartey, in an Ex-Parte motion with supporting affidavit, prayed the court to restrain the installation of the regent. He said the Anlo Traditional Council gave notice to the police about the installation and it was granted but violence broke out resulting in the death of four persons including a police officer.

Mr. Ghartey said two more people had been reported dead on Friday and that tension was still high, adding that more confusion and bloodshed would happen if the event went ahead. He said unless the parties were restrained by the court, the installation would go on. Mr Ghartey said government had the responsibility of restoring law and order by way of seeking the court order. He said although the IGP withdrew the permit, some people still wanted to go ahead with the installation. "If the court should wait after 48 hours, it would be too late. The court should therefore grant an instant order since the nature of the case is volatile. He therefore prayed for a restraining order through a substituted service which should be published in the print and electronic media. Earlier on Friday, the Police Administration on Friday confirmed the murder of General Constable Moses Daba of the Volta Regional Police Task Force who was kidnapped while on duty to maintain order in the chieftaincy conflict at Anloga on Thursday.

A statement issued by the Police Administration said Crime Scene Management teams and detectives from the CID headquarters had been dispatched to the scene to assist the Volta Regional Police in the investigations into the killing of the Police Constable and the others. The riots started when a faction in the raging chieftaincy dispute tried to perform rites at a shrine to pave the way for the installation of Regent Torgbui Sri III as Awoamefia of the Anglo Traditional area. Eyewitnesses said the police clashed with the crowd that tried to stop the performance of the rites at the shrine resulting in three people being killed and several others sustaining injuries. The statement said furthermore, a joint team of police and military personnel had been deployed in Angola to restore order. The police said the area was now "calm" and 92 persons from Angola had been invited to assist in police investigations. "The police are therefore appealing to the factions in the conflict to exercise restraint and use all legitimate means to resolve their differences.

"Furthermore, we also appeal to the residents of the area to volunteer information that might lead to the arrest of those who murdered the Constable and the three civilians." Civilians confirmed dead on Friday are Israel Ahagzi, 28, Mana Senyo, 48, and Menco Tugba, 47.

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