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10.05.2006 General News

IGP asked to probe Police swoops in Kokrobitey

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According to the petitioners such an investigation apart from getting to the root cause of the disturbances would led to the arrest of the perpetuators of the heinous crime and restore confidence in the residents some of whom had abandoned their homes to avoid the early morning swoops, molestation and arrest.

The petition was made at Kokrobitey in the Ga West District of the Greater Accra by Mr. Daniel Kwame Otoo on behalf of James Sackey, Thomas Mensah, Asafaoaste Kodiarmah, Edward Akwei Allotey, Obuobi Mensah, a disabled person and four-year-old Phillip Opoku Mensah, all members of a family.

He stated that on 4th April about five soldiers in the company of some civilians were said to have gone to the area to demand a debt owed one of the men but were molested leading to the death of some of the soldiers.

As a result of this the Police for a number days, started early morning swoops in the communities arresting and molesting anyone on sight resulting in the people deserting the area.

He claimed that during the swoops the Police broke into rooms and kiosks leading to the loss of various sums of money, goods and property.

Mr. Otoo said he and the other members of the family left Kokrobitey for Senchi in the Akwamu Traditional area, the ancestral home of the family to celebrate this year's Easter.

Members of the family who hail from the Senchi Royal House, he said were in the palace of Nana Kwabena Okyere, Saanahene of the Nifa Division of the traditional area when they were arrested by a combined team of about eight soldiers and policemen from Accra in four unmarked vehicles arrived.

Mr. Otoo told the state-owned News Agency that led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police from the Akosombo District Command of the Service they entered the Chief's palace and demanded to see his visitors.

Mr. Otoo stated that the Chief asked the Police to go and that he would send them himself to the Police Station but they refused and handcuffed, the six including the six-year-old boy and locked them up in the cells of the Police Station at Akosombo at about midnight.

According to the spokesman, they were removed from the Akosombo Police Station on Monday afternoon and sent to the Police Headquarters in Accra, divided and locked in various Police Stations in the capital and statement taken from them.

Mr Otoo stated that they were "mercilessly beaten" by the team that arrested them with the six-year\-old boy, locked in cells with adults and bailed three days after they had been locked at the headquarters and asked to report the next day.

He said that while they were being beaten at Akosombo, they were told that, "you have killed at Kokrobitey and run to hide here" but the Police would not disclose the informant.

According to the spokesman they had been receiving medical treatment since they were granted bail and said the molestation had affected his eyesight and jaw

Mr. Otoo stated that while they were against the crime, they taught the Police was going to handle the case in a way that it was not going to look like the whole community was to blame thereby creating a security problem in the area.

He expressed regret that the security agencies could not ensure minimal collateral damage and that they were going to use their professional experience to investigate the crime instead making it look like the whole society was responsible and had to suffer.

Mr. Otoo stated that while he had total confidence in the security apparatus they should not antagonise the whole community for the heinous crime of "some few people since some people did it and everybody should not suffer for that".

He called on the Minister of Interior and the IGP to institute an investigation to apprehend the culprits and the security personnel who took advantage of the situation to molest innocent and law abiding citizens since the Police needed the co-operation of the public to be effective.

Mr. Otoo stated that this was important to avoid a situation where people would take advantage of such situations to "vent their vengeance on innocent citizens" adding that this could make the people to lose confidence in the security agencies and the government.