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15.12.2003 General News

Security personnel retrieve arms and ammunition, arrest 29 at Wa

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Wa. Dec. 15, GNA - The security agencies at Wa at the weekend launched an all night operation and succeeded in retrieving a large cache of sophisticated weapons and ammunition from individuals at Sawla in the Bole District and Wa as part of measures to maintain peace and stability in the country.

Twenty-nine suspects including two women whose identities were being withheld for security reasons, were arrested and placed in police custody at Wa.

Weapons discovered included AK 47 assault rifles, one G3 machine gun, Mark 2 short guns, four French made weapons, two revolvers and six locally manufactured pistols.

Six thousand rounds of ammunition for assault rifles, 347 cartridges, 27 perception caps and two French military headgear were all found with the suspects.

The security agencies, which comprised personnel from the Airborne Force, the Ghana Police Service and BNI also discovered cash amounts of 57 million cedis, 431 dollars, about four million CFA francs, 260 Euros and 30 pounds sterling from one of the suspects.

Eleven polythene bags of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp were also found.

Briefing newsmen in front of a milling crowd who had gathered to see the weapons in virtual disbelief, at the Wa Police Station on Sunday, Major Irvine Aryeetey, Commanding Officer of the Airborne Force who led the operation, said the exercise followed a tip-off and intelligence reports received about two months ago.

The reports, he said indicated that Sawla and Wa areas had in recent times experienced armed attacks on travellers using the Wa-Bole-Bamboi road.

Major Aryeetey said the team decided to strike on Saturday night and this resulted in the massive discovery of the arms and ammunition. According to him, only two of the targeted suspects escaped arrest and intensive search was underway to apprehend them.

Mr Sahunum Mogtari, Upper West Regional Minister praised the security agencies for the professionalism they exhibited during the operation and entreated the general public to cooperate with them by volunteering information on criminals.

He said it was an affront to national security to find such sophisticated weapons in the hands of civilians who were not entitled to use them.

Mr Mogtari assured all informants that their identities and interests would be protected if they report the criminals in the society to the security agencies.

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