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20.11.2007 Crime & Punishment


By Daily Guide

Another policeman has been shot dead at Winneba in the Central Region, this time, over Indian hemp, bringing the death toll of service personnel in the past 10 days to four.

General Constable Tanko Muoz, the latest to die in the spate of accidental deaths to hit policemen recently, met his untimely death when he went to effect the arrest of suspected wee smokers at the Winneba boat-yard last Sunday.

Investigations have already begun into the circumstances surrounding the constable's death, according to the Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector Emmanuel Teye Okoso, who confirmed the cop's death.

According to him, one Constable Yeboah, who had just been posted from the Accra Central Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), was alleged to have mistakenly shot his colleague, but said his outfit was yet to receive official details.

The two policemen, according to eyewitnesses, went to the boatyard near the Winneba Prison yard with one assault rifle, during which a struggle ensued between them and the suspected wee smokers. In the course of the struggle Yeboah accidentally pulled the trigger of the weapon, shooting his colleague.

Continuing, the eyewitnesses said the policeman conveyed his shot colleague to the Winneba Government Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The late Muoz had just passed out of the Police Training Depot at Winneba and was awaiting posting to a station when he met his untimely death.

His body has since been deposited at the Winneba morgue for autopsy.

The spate of killings commenced with the death of General Constable Moses Daba with Service No. 399560 in the Anlo chieftaincy conflict.

The late Constable Daba was kidnapped by a faction in the conflict but a few hours after this, in spite of warning by the Volta Regional Police Command for his unconditional release, he was found dead.

His remains were dumped in a lagoon at Lashiebi Torkor, Anloga in the Volta Region on November 1, prompting a catalogue of concerns by a cross-section of Ghanaians about what they described as a gory development.

Last week, Asylum Down residents and their counterparts near the Nima Police Station were served with the shocking news about the murder of Constable Moro Zakaria by a certain Yaw Dotse.

The constable, who before his transfer to the Accra MTTU was attached to the Nima Police Station, responded to a distressed call at a drinking spot, De Gray Drinking Spot, where a man wielding two knives threatened to kill the son of the proprietor of the place.

In an attempt to disarm the man in the company of other colleagues, Constable Moro Zakari was stabbed in the neck.

The 33-year-old father of three died before his bloodied body could reach the Ridge Hospital in Accra. He was buried yesterday at the Achimota Cemetery, after last rites by the Police.

Also in the Eastern Region, Lance Corporal Hamid Somaila was butchered by a man who fled to the Kwahu Praso Police Station to avoid an angry mob who sought his blood over the murder of a man.

The dead cop, on relieving duties at the station, returned to the station only to find that 32-year-old Kwadwo Attah, a.k.a. Okailey had taken over the place with a cutlass.

Not even the firing of a warning shot from his Service assault rifle could deter the killer, who ironically pounced on his victim, fatally injuring him on the face and head.

The killer, a noted wee smoker and a jail-bird, was said to have killed a colleague who had asked why he maltreated a kid he had sent for sugarcane he harvested.

He turned his anger on the man and killed him instantly.
It was to avoid the angry crowd which pursued him that he landed in the police station, which had no cop manning it at the time.

The spate of cop murders in recent times has sent many asking whether there is something lacking in the policing skills of personnel of this foremost internal security agency.

An anonymous Superior Officer asked rhetorically why an unarmed cop would for instance engage a knife-wielding man in a struggle without calling for armed support.

The issue of making good use of the safe and ready mode of firearms, which is a basic lesson in weapon training, has also attracted the attention of both serving and retired security personnel.

One retired soldier, in reaction to the Winneba incident in which a cop accidentally killed his colleague, told DAILY GUIDE that it is wrong to engage in a struggle with suspects when the safety catch is on “ready” instead of “safe”.

From Sarah Afful, Winneba, with files by A.R. Gomda, Accra