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26.03.2007 General News

C’wealth Students Clash With Police

Students of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon, on Saturday clashed with the police near the Accra Regional Police Headquarters.

In the course of the clash, the police arrested and detained 30 of the students, for allegedly attacking police officers, throwing stones at the police and causing damage to a Mercedes Benz vehicle.

Those detained were, however, released later in the day following the intervention of the Minister of the Interior, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joe Ghartey.

That was after a meeting with the Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Douglas Akrofi Asiedu of the Regional Police Office, a senior lecturer of the University of Ghana, Legon, who gave his name only as Dr Nyame and leaders of the students.

Briefing the Daily Graphic, Inspector Kwaku Dompreh, a staff member of the Public Affairs Unit of the Accra Regional Police Command, said the students were on a procession when they suddenly pounced on an iced water seller.

He said when one of the police officers detailed to prevent hawkers from selling on pavements questioned the motive of the students, one of the students hurled insults at the police.

Inspector Dompreh quoted the student as saying that “you call yourself a policeman? You foolish man. You are a school dropout, that's why you are in the police”.

He said in the ensuing exchange of words between the student and the officer, the other students joined in the verbal attack.

Other police officers standing by also joined their colleague to call the students to order.

Inspector Dompreh said the students, who did not take kindly to the police officers' action, started throwing stones into the Accra Regional Police Headquarters, which resulted in the smashing of a Mercedes Benz vehicle belonging to a complainant.

The police, he said, in the course of the clash, managed to arrest 30 of the students.

Inspector Dompreh said at the meeting with the ministers and senior police officers, the students admitted that their action was wrong and apologised to the police.

“We had wanted to prosecute them, but the Minister of the Interior pleaded for them to be pardoned since they have apologised”, he said.

Inspector Dompreh described the action of the students as illegitimate, and cautioned that the police would be resolute in dealing with trouble makers.

He denied that the police assaulted the students, and contended that the police only used “minimum force” to restore order.

Story by Musah Yahaya Jafaru