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18.01.2006 Regional News

Farmers mobilizing to confront terror gang

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Nkawkaw, Jan 18, GNA - About 500 farmers in 9 communities around Begoro in the Fanteakwa District say they are mobilizing to confront a gang of "terrorists" led by one Major Kwasi Kilson (RTD) over alleged persistent harassment, raids and loss of property and crops worth millions of cedis.

The communities are Miaso Number One, Gyeduakro, Osuaban, Agyenua, Aburaso, Aboabo, Asrebuaso, Amiawa and Krobo Nyadei. A spokesman for the aggrieved farmers, Mr Yakubu Mustapha Kissi, told the GNA at Nkawkaw on Monday that the armed confrontation had become inevitable as that is "the only alternative means left for us to secure our freedom from the marauding gang who have been launching incessant raids, looting, molestation and destruction of our personal effects and crops."

He complained that despite petitions to the authorities, including the Attorney General's Department, the Inspector General of Police and the police at Begoro, Mpraeso and Koforidua on the illicit activities of Major Kilson and his gang, nothing had been heard from them. Narrating the background to the dispute Mr Kissi said Major Kilson claimed that the land on which the communities are sited belonged to his late uncle, one Kwasi Ghatey, who bought the land from the Akims several decades ago and bequeathed it to him.

He claimed his late father, Opanin Kwame Boye and several farmers, mostly Krobos and Kwahus, also bought their land in the 1950s from the Akims on which they cultivated cocoa and food crops and developed the 9 communities on their farmlands.

Mr Kissi said since 1976, Maj Kilson and his gang had been launching armed raids on the communities, assaulting and looting of crops and personal effects that scared away several people from their farm.

He said even though Maj Kilson was arrested in 1982 by a student task force when he attempted to evacuate large quantities of cocoa beans from Aniawa, he had not stopped. Mr Kissi also accused the gang of undertaking illegal chainsaw operations on their farms leading to extensive damage to food and cash crops.

When the Eastern Regional Police Command was contacted, a spokesman said the Command was waiting for the complainants to help them in their investigations as Major Kilson had reported the incident last December.