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Regional News | Jun 28, 2004

Mystery death at Asuofori, West Akim

Chronicle

The family of a 69 year-old man who was found dead with one eye plucked out and his head crushed with a heavy object at Asuofori in the West Akim District, has appealed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to cause further investigation into his death to bring the murderer(s) to justice.

Opanin Nathan Blankson Brakatu, who resided on his cocoa farm about five kilometers from Asuofori village, is believed to have been killed for ritual purposes, according to information gathered by The Chronicle from the community.

The police at nearby Osenase, who inspected the body, however, thought otherwise and allegedly advised the family to bury him. Opanin Brakatu was said to have visited Asuofori on April 5 but never got back to his farm. He was found dead the following day in a stream.

The paper's sources said Inspector Gyimah, in charge of the Osenesa police station, who led a team to the scene to inspect the dead body, allegedly suggested to the family that they could either bury it or convey it to the hospital for autopsy if they so wished.

Due to financial constraints, the family decided to bury the body without any medical examination or autopsy, it was alleged.

But further investigations by The Chronicle seem to suggest that the police had rested the matter because they had since not taken any statements from the family or the person who was said to be in the company of the victim the day before his death and who discovered his body.

The circumstances of Opanin Brakatu's death have created panic and fear among the inhabitants, who are virtually living under a self-imposed curfew by restricting their movements, especially at night.

The Mankrado of the village had caused a gong-gong to be beaten, advising people to walk in the company of at least two, whenever they were going out of the village.

Kenneth Mantey, a son of the victim, told The Chronicle that apart from his eye, which was dislodged and the head crushed, blood was oozing from his nose as well.

He added that last year a 24-year-old farmer, Osei Takyi, got missing after failing to return home from his farm, and was now presumed dead, following fruitless efforts by a search party.

“My father's murder means that Osei could have been murdered as well and who knows the next victim if the perpetrators of this heinous crime are not arrested and brought to justice,” said Kenneth.

Mrs. Janet Nyarko, younger sister of the victim, said the man alleged to be in the company of Opanin Brakatu on the eve of his death, and who was said to have discovered his body when he went to the stream to visit his fish trap, had allegedly informed the family that the ghost of the dead person was haunting him and so he needed to be pacified. The family has rejected his request, according to Mrs. Nyarko.

Both Mrs. Nyarko and Mr. Mantey said given these circumstances, the police authorities must carry out proper investigations into the matter.

Meanwhile Inspector Gyimah, confirming that he led a team of police personnel to the scene, told The Chronicle, “We brought a doctor to examine the dead body.”

He declined any further comments, saying he would need the permission of his district officer before he could release any information to the paper.

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