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28.02.2005 Crime & Punishment

Notorious robber confesses to 38 robberies

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Accra, Feb. 28, GNA - Aryee Ayittey, alias Atta Ayi, 32, described by the police as the country's most wanted armed robber on Monday confessed that he masterminded 38 successful robberies in the Accra Metropolis since he started his operations five years ago.

Ayittey, alias "One touch" and "Baba", among a host of nicknames, was arrested at his hideout at Teshie in Accra after years of Police operations to track him down. The robber, whose picture had been posted on a billboard by the Greater Accra Regional Police Command, had a 20 million-cedi ransom on his head.

Ayittey, a mechanic, told the Ghana News Agency at his Police cells at the Greater Accra Regional Police Command that his modus operandi included keeping surveillance on people who withdrew large sums of money from the banks and pursuing them to their destinations and robbing them in broad daylight. Ayittey, who was wearing a big talisman around his neck said he was behind the robbery of 144 million cedis from a Japanese, who died in the attack. "That was my only operation that led to the death of the victim," he said in Ga.

He claimed that most of his victims exaggerated the amount of money the robbers snatched from them. "There was no time we ever robbed anyone of 500,000 million cedis." Ayittey said when he and his gang seized cars in their operations, they sell them to one Adams at the Kokomba Market. They also bought their weapons mainly AK 47, G-3 and pistols from one Alhaji at Nima for a fee. Ayittey said he would have left Ghana for Germany, but for the fraudulent activities of visa contractors. His 26 year-old girlfriend, Lizzy Imoro, a Caterer, who has two girls with him, told the GNA that he had threatened to kill her if she dumped him.

ACP Nataniel Kofi Boakye, Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, told newsmen that the arrest of Ataa Ayi marked the end of a generation of armed robbers. He said Ataa Ayi and his group were behind most of the major robberies in the country and disclosed that 26 members of the gang had been arrested, including Ayi's second in command, Emmanuel Sackey Tetteh, alias Mpata. ACP Boakye mentioned some of those already in custody as Amewugah, Prince, Ahmed, Nii Armah. "The arrest of Ayi is significant because he has been elusive to the security service." He warned, however, "the arrest would not mark the end of armed robbery."

The Regional Commander said three new groups had emerged. One group operates in Nima and is noted for capturing women and raping them in turns while another gang in Madina snatched vehicles from their victims for robbery and abandoned the car later. He said one group was also operational at Ashongman, while there were pockets of other robbery gangs operating in Dansoman and surrounding areas. "Three days ago the Nima group shot and killed a Police man and took away his Ak-47 rifle," Mr Boakye said. He expressed concern that none of the robbers arrested had so far been prosecuted.

Mr Boakye disclosed that sometime ago some of these hardened criminals in prison met to hatch a plan to kill some key police personnel when they were released. He called for the formation of neighbourhood watchdog committees and advised that suspicious characters should be questioned when seen around certain places at odd times. Mr Boakye said the Police were willing to beef up security in the Region.

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