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08.11.2004 General News

Coup Plot: Suspects had military equipment -police

By Reuters

ACCRA, Nov 8 (Reuters) - A group of civilians and retired soldiers suspected of plotting to destabilise Ghana ahead of elections were found with military equipment, a firearm and ammunition, the country's top criminal investigator said.

"They were planning to commit acts of sabotage and subvert the state. They'd been holding meetings. We've evidence of what they'd been plotting," David Asante-Apeatu, head of the police criminal investigations department, told Reuters late on Sunday.

Authorities arrested the men on Saturday on suspicion of plotting "acts of terror and sabotage against the republic", four weeks before presidential elections.

Asante-Apeatu said investigators found military body armour and helmets, one firearm and 18 rounds of ammunition but that no serving members of the armed forces were thought to be involved in the alleged plot in the world's second biggest cocoa grower.

"I want to emphasise that what we've uncovered had nothing to do with the armed forces. The group we arrested on Saturday consists of civilians and ex-soldiers," Asante-Apeatu said.

"There were no ex-officers," he said.

The suspected plotters were being held in custody while investigations continued but would either have to go to court later on Monday or be freed under Ghanaian law, which allows suspects to be held for 48 hours, Asante-Apeatu said.

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