11.12.2007 Crime & Punishment

Two arrested for suspected ritual murder

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The police at Agbozume have arrested two people suspected of murdering Ametornawo Gagba, a 78-year-old widow at Deme near Dzodze in the Ketu District of the Volta Region, for ritual purposes.

They are Kwasi Esri Gbadagba, a 37-year-old fisherman, a former tenant of the deceased and Kwaku Adza a 27-year-old tailor.

Mr. Salah Sylvanus Kudoloh, Assistant Superintendent of Police in-charge of Agbozume Area confirmed the story but declined to give details, saying investigations were on-going.

Gbadagba's wife, Akpene Gbadagba and Gbadagba's cousin Wusagba Gbadagba, who are suspected accomplices in the crime, are on the run.

The suspects allegedly removed the hands, legs, breasts, head, and private parts of the victim and siphoned into a pot, blood that oozed as they slit her throat.

They also allegedly used part of the body parts and the blood in performing rituals at an area near Anloga, where they were resident, to enable them to make bumper catch during their fishing expedition and also to fortify themselves spiritually.

The police have since exhumed the decomposed body of the deceased, from a shallow grave at her compound at Deme and released it to her family for burial after autopsy at the Police Hospital in Accra.

Police sources at Agbozume told the GNA that the deceased, who lived alone at an isolated cottage at Deme, was missing in November this year, leading to days of search for her by residents of the main village for days without any result.

The sources said on November 23 this year, some residents found a shallow grave at the deceased's compound, with flies hovering over the place.

They informed the police, who ordered that the grave should be opened, leading to the discovery of the decomposed body of the deceased without the body parts.

Upon a tip-off, the police sources said on December 4, this year, Gbadagba was arrested at a hideout at Klikor near Agbozume, and after admitting his complicity in the crime he led the police to Aklavime near Anloga where Adza was also arrested.

The two, the police sources said, led the investigators to a spot near a palm tree at Latame, also near Anloga, where the police removed some of the body parts and a pot containing blood, all of which the suspects buried after the rituals.

During a further search, part of the deceased clothes were found with Adza, who claimed they were brought to him by Gbadagba to be sown for him and finally said he Adza was not involved in the murder.

Meanwhile, a silver bowl and a basket, both of which belonged to the victim and which the group allegedly used in conveying the body parts and her personal belongings, were found with Adza, who Gbasagba insisted was involved in the planning and execution of the plan.

The police said they established that Gbadagba who stayed briefly with the victim in her house at Deme was the architect of the plot.

Gbadagba and Adza were to be put before court soon on a provisional charge of murder.

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