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02.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Addo Kufuor orders Ashanti police to uproot criminal gangs

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Kumasi, March 2, GNA - Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Minister of Defence, has ordered the Ashanti Regional Police Command to institute measures to disband all criminal gangs operating in the Kumasi metropolis. He said the government was not happy with the situation where criminal gangs took to the streets and terrorised innocent residents with impunity.

Dr Addo-Kufuor gave the order at a meeting with the leadership of the Regional Police Command and security co-ordinators in Kumasi on Wednesday following reports of attacks on residents by criminal groups on Tuesday.

The Minister's visit to Kumasi was to assess the security situation in the metropolis, which is currently under siege by the criminals. Members of the gang, who were said to be riding unlicensed motorbikes, attacked the residents, fired warning shots into the air, robbed unsuspecting people of their money and inflicted cutlass wounds on anyone who crossed their path.

The attacks were said to be a revenge for the death of their colleague who was allegedly beaten to death by another criminal group at Alar Bar, a suburb of Kumasi on Monday.

Residents of Suame, New Tafo, Ashtown, Manhyia and Alar Bar were those who faced the wrath of the criminals.

Dr Addo-Kufuor who was visibly worried, remarked that, Kumasi appeared to be degenerating into gang warfare and asked the police to sit up and uproot all criminal gangs from the city.

He said what was happening in the city should be the concern of all law abiding citizens and pledged to offer security assistance to the police to arrest the situation.

The Minister said he would also liaise with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the Zongo chief to find solution to the problem. ACP Ofosu Mensah Gyeabour, Ashanti Regional Police Commander, said it was unfortunate that some people took the law into their own hands to do whatever they wanted.

He said the police had arrested 24 members of the gang who had appeared in court on Wednesday morning.

Mr Gyeabour said the command had arranged for police and military deployment in the metropolis to ensure physical security presence in the city.

He assured the public that the situation was under control and urged them to go about their normal business.