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30.04.2004 General News

People of Benso appeal to President, IGP for protection.

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Benso (W/R) April 30, GNA - The chiefs and people of Benso in the Western Region have urgently appealed to President Kuffuor and the Inspector General of Police, (IGP), Nana Owusu Nsiah to restrain the police and military personnel from persistently harassing the people of the area for no apparent reasons.

They specifically accused the police at Tarkwa and Nsuaem of allowing themselves to be used by "interested parties" in a protracted chieftaincy dispute, which is before the law courts to harass them without any tangible reasons.

"So far, we have proved to be law abiding by allowing the courts to deal with the chieftaincy matter, but now we are being pushed too far to the wall, and our patience is running out", they told a press conference at Benso on Thursday.

Odeneho Akrofa Krokoko II, one of the two chiefs embroiled in the dispute over the rightful occupant of the Wassa Fiase stool, his elders, and some opinion leaders were the speakers at the conference, which was attended by representatives from Bogoso, Adum-Banso, Nsuaem Tarkwa and other towns in the traditional area.

Nana Yaw Ohemeng, an elder said, in the latest incident, heavily armed policemen and soldiers surrounded some houses at dawn on Saturday, April 24 and arrested three citizens, and after molesting them sent them to Tarkwa where they were detained.

They were falsely accused of burning a car belonging to Osagyefo Kwamena Enimil VI, the other claimant to the stool, and showing disrespect for him when he visited the town sometime ago, adding, "There is no iota of truth in the charge".

He gave the names of the victims as Kwasi Ayebeng, Francis Obeng and one Agama who had blood flowing from his ears following beatings he suffered from the hands of the security personnel.

They said earlier, Osagyefo Kwamena Enimil VI had presented 10 million cedis to pay the fees of some pupils in the local Methodist primary school, which the parents of these children rejected, because according to them they have already paid the fees.

"Osagyefo Enimil felt slighted by this, and we believe that, "that may be the cause of the harassment".

Two weeks before the incident, armed policemen in police vehicles arrived in the town and started beating the people including women and children for unexplained reasons.

Nana Kwaw Wiredu, Gyasehene, said these have been going on while the Regional Security Council and the District Security Committee looked on and disclosed that the people were planning a demonstration at Sekondi to draw the attention of the authorities to the heightening of tension caused by the use of the security agencies in the dispute.

Nana Kofi Arhin said so far, the chiefs and elders have managed to restrain their supporters from retaliating the unprovoked attacks and asked "But for how long can we contain this humiliation?" and called for the government's immediate intervention to avoid serious conflicts. In a related development, six teachers of the Methodist primary school who were said to have later received the 10 million cedis donation from Osagyefo Enimil on behalf of parents for the payment of the fees of pupils have vacated their posts.

This is for fear of being attacked by the parents, who had earlier rejected the donation. 30 April 04

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