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29.09.2003 General News

John Ndebugre under attack - two of his cars set on fire

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Zebilla (U/E), Sept. 29, GNA - Two private cars belonging to Mr John Ndebugre, a private legal practitioner based at Zebilla, in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region, were set on five by unidentified persons last Tuesday night.

The two cars, an Opel Kadett salon with registration number GW 1222 S, and a Nissan pick-up also with registration number GT 9953 N, were simultaneously set on fire using petrol tied in small quantities in polythene bags.

At a press briefing at Zebilla, Mr Ndebugre said the crime perpetrated against him was politically motivated and a calculated attempt to take his life.

Mr Ndebugre was a candidate for the People's National Convention (PNC) for the Zebilla constituency during the 2000 parliamentary election. A team of police personnel from Bolgatanga led by the Regional Crime Officer, Mr Henry Bacho, whom Mr Ndebugre called on phone from Zebilla, helped with the situation because according to the victim, the response from the police at Zebilla was not the best.

He said he had earlier made a report to the police on the threat on his life and property communicated to his wife by one Amoa Agonlungo, a drinking bar operator at Zebilla, but the police there failed to take serious action until the threat was put into action.

Mr Ndebugre said Agonlungo's reasons for the threat were that he (Mr Ndebugre) was defending thieves, mainly cattle rustlers, and have been showing off with his Opel Kadett.

Agonlungo therefore, said he would organise his people to burn Mr Ndebugre's cars and the house.

The legal practitioner said on September 8, the chief of Timonde, his home village, called a family meeting "at which he identified some of my clients at Timonde as persons who persistently stole his people's animals with active assistance from me and one policeman at Zebilla."

"The chief gave a go ahead of those at the meeting to attack and kill the thieves and their supporters whose home-steads and properties must also be burnt or destroyed."

Mr Ndebugre said the police had illegally arrested and detained his clients for several days for no apparent reasons, while others had been kidnapped and tortured by civilians.

He indicated that the criminal jurisprudence is that a person is not guilty until a court of competent jurisdiction convicts such a person, adding that he would continue to defend innocent people until they were found guilty of the charges or otherwise.

Mr Ndebugre called on his relatives and friends to desist from compelling him to act against the oath he swore to always defend innocent people.

However, the Police Commander in-charge of the Zebilla station ASP Henry Bacho, said those suspects in detention had been put there lawfully and that they were people who had confessed to their crimes. He explained that one Lateef Mbazor, had confessed to stealing four cattle and directed the people to one Alale Apem, the man keeping the animals from whom three of them had been retrieved.

Mr Bacho said the incidence of cattle rustling is on the rise in the area, adding that residents of Zebilla and its environs are peeved by the continuous involvement of Mr Ndebugre in defending the rustlers in court.

He said there is a network of cattle rustling gangs between Burkinabes and Ghanaians.

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