Two Die In Clash at Galloway
TWO persons were killed and four others, including a policeman, were seriously injured at Galloway, a suburb of Accra, when a marauding mob of scrap dealers attacked a team of policemen which had gone there to assist officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to execute a court order yesterday.
Chief Inspecter Washington Folley of the Police Striking Force, who was reported to be in coma, is on admission at the Police Hospital.
The deceased have been identified as Sumaila Maiga and Iddrisa Moro, alias Sergeant, both scrap dealers . Three other scrap dealers, Moro Amadu, Basiru Braimah and Sulley Kuregu, who were injured, were taken to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for treatment.
Some leaders of the scrap dealers are currently assisting the police in their investigations.
According to the acting Accra Regional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Kofi Boakye, the police were only there to offer assistance to enable AMA officials to carry out a demolition order but the mob decided to vent its spleen on them.
Chief Superintendent Boakye, who called in a police officer and one of the leaders to give account of what happened, said it is important the public appreciates the essence of the rule of law and respects the country’s law enforcement agencies.
He said the Deputy Judicial Secretary, Mr N. C. A. Agbevor, by a letter dated July 9, 2002, had requested the police to offer assistance to the AMA officials to enable them to enforce the order.
The letter stated that “to forestall any breach of the peace that may arise, it would be greatly appreciated if you could detail 30 armed policemen to assist the officers execute the writ,” Mr Boakye said.
Chief Supt. Boakye said being a market area, it was important that the exercise took place at a time when there was not much activity.
He said since the people had already been informed of the impending exercise, there should not have been any confusion at all.
He said one of the leaders of the scrap dealers showed a document requesting a stay of execution, but explained that the court had not yet heard the application, adding that, “permission sought is not permission granted because the court is yet to hear the application”. Mr Boakye said those arrested will certainly be charged for obstruction and assault.
Sgt David Kpodo, a member of the police team said, the police personnel accompanied officials of the AMA, led by the Metropolitan Engineer, Major T. N. K. Awuah to execute the order.
He said he had personally gone to the scrap dealers to give two reminders for them to quit the area since the order could be executed anytime.
He said on reaching the scene, they saw some soldiers already there so the leaders went to hold discussions with them before the execution of the order. According to Sgt Kpodo, one of the leaders brought out a document, a purported stay of execution and showed it to Chief Inspector Folley.
He said just as the Chief Inspector was reading the letter, they heard two petrol bomb explosions so they retreated to avoid any harm.
He said Chief Inspector Folley spotted someone pouring petrol on a set of tyres laid across the road. Sgt Kpodo said Mr Folley moved in to stop the perpetrator and in the process, they saw somebody hit the Chief Inspector with a metal.
He said the mob started hurling stones, metals and other weapons at the police and in the ensuing melee, the security personnel fired several shots to scare off the mob to enable the police to go the aid of Chief Inspector Folley, who had then collapsed.
On his part, Mr Emmanuel Yeboah, one of the scrap dealers, said he received a call at about 9p.m. on Tuesday night that the AMA had dispatched some bulldozers to pull down their structures.
He said when he rushed back to the area, he saw that almost all the scrap dealers had already assembled to keep vigil to forestall the execution of the order.
He said they mounted two barriers with metals and tyres to prevent the bulldozers from getting close to the site. Mr Yeboah said at about 3 a.m., some soldiers went to the scene to ask why they had blocked the road and they explained the circumstances to them.
He said just then, a police team led by the AMA engineer, Major Awuah also arrived at the scene to carry out the order.
Meanwhile, the AMA Chief Executive, Mr Solomon Ofei Darko described as unfortunate the death of the two as well as the present condition of the police officer reports Mabel Aku Baneseh.
However, he stated that it was the responsibility of the AMA to execute the court order. He stated that the AMA had issued several reminders to the scrap dealers to vacate the site but these appeals went unheeded.
He took the opportunity to advise the general public to desist from erecting illegal structures as well as taking the law into their own hands