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17.01.2006 Crime & Punishment

Police at Atebubu investigate alleged arson at prayer camp

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Atebubu (B/A), Jan. 17, GNA - Police at Atebubu in Brong Ahafo are investigating the circumstances that led to the destruction of the Israel Prayer Camp at New Konkormpe, near Atebubu to arrest the perpetrators.

The Camp, created out of the Church of Pentecost Ghana with Elder Noah Obeng in charge, started operating in the area about seven years ago.

Elder Obeng told the Ghana News Agency at New Konkrompe that some youth of the area numbering about six went to the camp on Thursday, January 12, this year and set the Camp ablaze. Property worth billions of cedis belonging to members of the Camp and visitors receiving spiritual healing were destroyed. Items destroyed included an Urvan bus, two sets of musical instruments and generators, low tension poles, electricity wires, barns containing bags of maize, three second hand car engines, 10 bicycles, cooking utensils, clothing and foodstuffs. The youth also stole a number of sheep, goats and fowls belonging to the elder in-charge.

Elder Obeng said the youth had on December 31 last year, burnt the Camp's generating plant and a corn mill, which was reported to the Police, but they failed to arrest anybody even though the names of some suspects were mentioned to them at Atebubu.

Elder Obeng complained that some youth of the area had threatened to eject him from the place and their only reason was that the plot of land allocated for the Camp was too large. He explained that he acquired the land legally from the Omanhene of Atebubu Traditional Area and that the Odikro of New Konkrompe and the Gyasehene of Atebubu, who is the caretaker of New Konkrompe stool land witnessed the purchase.

He said the youth organised themselves when the Atebubu District Security Council summoned a meeting of the youth and the members of the Prayer Camp but the youth left the meeting and went to the Camp to set it ablaze.

Officials of the Ghana National Fire Service tried to enter the Camp to fight the fire but the youth mounted a block on the road with burnt tyres to disrupt the entrance of the fire personnel. As a result every property at the Camp was burnt displacing about 70 members who had all their personal property destroyed and were now only with the clothes they wore before they moved outside the camp. Mr Emmanuel Ahimah Agyemang-Badu, Secretary of the Prayer Camp expressed grave concern about how the Police at Atebubu had not been successful in apprehending the youth involved in the act. Nana Owusu Akyeaw Brempong, Omanhene of Atebubu Traditional Area confirmed to the Ghana News Agency that the Management of the Israel Prayer Camp at New Konkrompe acquired the land legally from the traditional council.

Nana Owusu Akyeaw expressed regret about the loss of property through the alleged arson and expressed the hope that the Atebubu Police would intensify their investigations to bring the perpetrators to book. Meanwhile some Police personnel from Atebubu have been deployed to guard the Palace of Nana Owusu Akyeaw Brempong, following a tip-off that the youth of New Konkrompe had planned to attack him for allocating the land to a religious sect.