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19.11.2007 Crime & Punishment

Indian Hemp smoker butchers cop at police station

By The Heritage

A Police Lance Corporal, Hamid Sumaila, met his untimely death last Saturday, November 16, 2007, at the Kwahu Praso Police Station when he was butchered to death by a suspect who had run to the police station ostensibly to seek refuge.

The suspect, Kwadwo Attah, alias Okailey, about 32 years old, ex-convict and a farmer from Ahyiresu in the Asante Akyem district of the Ashanti region, had earlier inflicted cutlass wounds one Kwame Noah, 28, at Ahyiresu and fled from the town to the police station to avoid being lynched by the angered town folks.

Eyewitnesses at Ahyiresu intimated to The Heritage that, Attah, who was an Indian hemp smoker, had harvested sugarcane from his farm that day. Noah, who stayed close to Attah's house, sent a little boy to demand a piece of the sugarcane. Attah who did not take kindly to Noah's demand, allegedly threatened to kill the little boy, if he did not vanish his sight.

The bemused boy then doubled up away to inform Noah of Attah's threats.

The witnesses said Noah then approached his friend Attah to verify the veracity of the threat and find the reason for the rash intimidation. Thereupon, Attah was said to have asked Noah to leave the house or risk being killed.

Before Noah could move out of the house, Attah pounced on him and inflicted several cutlass wounds on his neck and head and left him for dead. Noah was, however, rushed to the Nkawkaw Holy Family Hos¬pital in a critical condition.

After the callous act, and seeing that people were closing up on him, apparently to lynch him, Attah fled at a whirlwind speed to the police station, still wielding the cutlass, to seek police protection. Ironically, suspect Attah did not meet any police person on duty at the station and he had to lurk there for pretty two hours before L/Cpl Sumaila, who was said to be on duty at a site where Sonitra, a road construction firm, was working, arrived. The subordinate had been called by the station officer, Insp. Kwapong, to go and attend to the suspect, as he (the inspector) was traveling to attend a funeral.

(The police later explained to The Heritage that there were only three police personnel manning the station which covered over 50 com¬munities with more than 11,000 people.)

On that fateful day, the station officer, who stays at Nkawkaw and goes to work at Praso, had traveled for funeral, his next in command; a sergeant, was said to be on leave while the other person; a constable, had been detailed to go arrest a suspect at a near-by village.

L/Cpl. Sumaila, who was on relief duty at Nkawkaw but stayed at the Kwahu Praso police barracks, was therefore called to assist in solving the problem.

At the police station, Attah who had virtually taken over due to the absence of police personnel, threatened to butcher whoever attempted to come near him, and was not deterred when L/Corp. Sumaila gave a warning shot to scare him to drop the cutlass.

The policeman then approached Attah who was standing on a staircase and attempted persuading him to drop the cutlass.

Attah then pounced on the innocent policeman with the cutlass and slashed his neck and face, killing him instantly. He then collected the dead policeman's rifle, gave some warning shots to scare the people around and fled into the bush.

The Nkawkaw divisional command of the Police Service, led by Commander Paul Awuni and Divisional Crime Officer Adam Seidu mobilized their men who spent some eight hours searching for the equally armed 'Champion Attah' and succeeded in arresting him Saturday night.

But that did not come about without incident. Before Attah could be captured, he had fired at an 18-year-old boy, Kwame Siaw, injuring his legs badly. The suspect himself could not live to help the police in investigations. The police reported when they came back that Attah had so much struggled with them before they could overpower him that he became so weak he died shortly after they rushed him to the Nkawkaw Holy Family Hospital.

As investigations continue, the bodies of the gunned policeman and his assailant have been deposited at the Government Hospital at Atibie, while the injured persons; Siaw and Noah are receiving intensive care at the Holy Family, Nkawkaw.

Only last week, the media reported the slashing of the throat of a policeman called by a frightened woman to scare off a madman. Mob lynching, beating-up and pelting of police personnel and the burning down of whole police stations by scoundrels remain a serious challenge to enhanced policing in Ghana where crime rise is equally a bother.