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07.11.2007 General News

Anlo Area Now Safe

The Director-General of Police Operations, Deputy Commissioner of Police Patrick Timbilla, has declared Anloga and other towns in the Anlo Traditional Area safe after days of disturbances that claimed five lives.

He said the public must discard the notion that Anlo was still a volatile area and appealed to traders, visitors, residents and others who had deserted the area to return and go about their normal businesses.

He attributed the restoration of calm to the increased police presence and the effective management of the curfew which had been in force since last Friday.

Additionally, he said, the police had mounted security check-points at Dabala Junction, Savietula, Anloga Police Station, Havedzi, near the Keta Sea Defence project site, and the Denu Junction.

Briefing the media on the present situation in the area, DCOP Timbillah said there was also a miltary detachment from the 66 Artillery in Ho on standby to assist the police in case of an emergency and noted that “they will be involved in patrols during the curfew”.

He said the ban on firearms within the Keta and Anloga areas was still in force, adding that the police were still looking for the boots,uniform and rifle of General Constable Moses Deba, who was murdered during the clashes.

“We appeal to anyone who has any information about the missing items to inform the police for a handsome reward,” he added.

He said 75 persons had been picked up, 25 from the side of Mr Francis Nyonyo Agboada, the regent of Anloga, while the rest are from the other faction.

DCOP Timbilla said the police were not on anybody's side and that it was their duty to give protection to any party in need.

Meanwhile, seven persons have been remanded in prison custody by the Ho Magistrate Court in connection with their alleged involvement in the bloody clashes that occurred in Anloga last Thursday, reports Tim Dzamboe.

They are Yao Agbemakpor, John Kwawu Sefogah, Aaron Agbota, Kwawu Galley, Francis Adzrah, Prince Wisdom and Atsu Afedo. The eighth accused person, Israel Kwabla Amenume, died in cells and his body has been deposited at the Volta Regional Hospital mortuary.

They were charged with “riot with weapon” in accordance with Section 199 of Act 29/60 and murder under Section 46 of Act 29/60. Their pleas were not taken.

The seven accused persons were charged after the police had granted 67 persons an enquiry bail when they were arrested in a swoop at Anloga last Thursday.

Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police Peter Glabu said the accused persons and others at large took part in a riot with offensive instruments such as machetes, stones and guns and murdered General Constable Moses Deba.

ASP Glabu said they also took away the constable's uniform and AK 47 rifle and added that two men and a woman also died on the spot during the clash.

Counsel for the accused, Mr Ernest Gaewu, a Ho-based lawyer and Alfred Agbesi, an Accra-based lawyer, had earlier argued for a bail for the accused persons.

Mr Gaewu claimed that the police seriously exaggerated the facts of the case, adding that there was no evidence connecting them to any kidnapping and murder of the policeman and that when and how the three others died were not stated.

He said the first suspect in the case, Agbemakpor, had a bullet embedded in his left arm and needed prompt medical attention.

For his part, Mr Agbesi said the presence of the police at Anloga on November 1 at the alleged cultural festival did not warrant the use of guns with live bullets and that they should have rather used rubber bullets.

He prayed the court to refuse application for remand and grant the accused bail because three more people died on the spot and there was no charge against those who killed them.

Mr Agbesi argued that the mode of arrest was appalling and that the longer the accused persons were held in custody the more tension would be generated in the Anloga area and that granting them bail would reduce the tension.

Mr Amedior, the presiding magistrate, however declined the application for bail on the grounds that the case involved murder and the law was explicit on how to deal with such cases.

He said his hands were therefore tied and remanded the accused persons in prison custody to reappear on November 22.

Mr Amedior ordered that the accused who had a pellet in his body should be referred to the hospital for medical investigations.

Story by Mary Mensah & Charles Benoni Okine