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06.06.2008 General News

IGP visits Ashaiman, consoles bereaved family of riot

By GNA
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The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong on Thursday visited Ashaiman in the aftermath of the confrontation between the police and commercial drivers over wrongful parking that claimed two lives, many injured and properties vandalized.
He called at the houses of the deceased to console the bereaved family over the unfortunate incident and assured them of the Police Administration's support to give a befitting burial to the deceased while other arrangements would be considered later.
He also inspected police vehicles and private cars belonging to Officers parked at the Police station that were vandalized as well as the building that was nearly burnt in the riot.
Master Moses Kassim, 11 year old boy of Ashaiman Government School and Mr Moses Ofori alias Alhaji 22, driver lost their lives when they were hit by stray bullets.
The IGP who was led to the families by the Tema Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) John Kudalor and Mr Albert Boakye Okyere, Ashaiman Municipal Chief Executive was accompanied by his Deputy Mrs Elizabeth Mills Robertson, the Commissioner of CID, Mr. Frank Adu Poku and other top police officers.
At separate meetings with Ashaiman Police personnel and the executives of the various Ashaiman Transport Unions, Mr Acheampong impressed on motorists and police to learn to co-exist as their work is inter-depended to enable them to operate effectively and peacefully.
Mr Acheampong noted that the incident was one of the professional hazards they encounter and urged personnel not be frustrated or unwanted but remain resolute with their work, saying that there are bad nuts in every society and those identified would be dealt with.
He praised the Tema Regional Police Commander and Officers for the prompt action that saved the situation from escalating.
The Executives of the Transport Unions however blamed the Ashaiman Divisional Commander of Motor Transport and Traffic Unit, Mr Timothy Dassah for the unfortunate incident because they had met with him and agreed that they parked by the road side while they waited for other drivers to leave the main parking station as the place could not contain all vehicles.
“The commercial drivers were then complying with what transpired at the previous meeting with the MTTU Commander and he (Commander) flouted it by removing batteries and deflating tyres of the vehicles parked at the very place we agreed to wait”.
The transport executives further stated that the problem was compounded when the Commander arrested some of the drivers, hence the confrontation.
They however appealed to the IGP not to take advantage of the situation to punish or transfer personnel from the station but rather ensure that a lasting solution is found to the problem to prevent recurrence.
Meanwhile, a Press statement issued by the Ashaiman Municipal Security Committee (MUSEC) put casualties recorded during the riot at 13, made up of two deaths and eleven injured with some treated and discharged and others on admission at the Tema General Hospital.
The statement identified causes of the incident as arrest and detention of six commercial drivers, refusal to grant them bail, attack on the police station and reaction of drivers demanding the release of their colleagues from custody.
While commending the police for exercising considerable restraint in managing the situation, the statement blamed both the police and drivers for failing to strictly adhere to laid down procedure in handling the confrontation.
The MCE, Boakye-Okyere gave the assurance that the Assembly was making efforts to change the public perception about Ashaiman in order to redeem its image.
He said a three-member committee has been set up to investigate circumstances that led to the incident and has three days to present its report.
Confrontation ensued between Ashaiman police and commercial drivers on Tuesday when they (drivers) were demanding the release of their colleagues who had been arrested for parking at the roadside thus causing traffic jam instead of a parking lot provided for them.

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