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Police On Rampage At Ada Luhuor

About 800 residents of Luhuor in the West Ada District of the Greater Accra Region have fled the community after some police personnel visited brutality on them last Friday.

The police personnel, numbering about 80 beat and kicked anybody they saw in the village, except children. They also burnt six motorbikes, knocked down a couple of buildings and ruined a taxi and motorcycle.

The Assemblyman for the village, Isaac Gbenartey, told The Chronicle that in the afternoon of last week Thursday, a police pick-up, with registration number GP 4652, carrying two masked persons and two police personnel, was prevented passage through the village to a salt mining concession that the government had leased to Electrochem, a private investor.

The youth demanded the police to unmask the two persons onboard their vehicle before they are allowed to move further.

Mr Gbenartey said the reluctance by the youth to allow the police vehicle go through the village with the two masked men infuriated the police, who were disarmed after attempting to use their rifles.

During the scuffle with the police, the Assemblyman said two boxes of cartridges and a rifle in the police vehicle were carried away by the youth.

The police drove out of the village without making known the identity of the masked men, who wore an Electrochem-branded polo shirt, the Assemblyman explained.

“Late in the afternoon, when the police drew my attention to the stolen boxes of cartridges, I led them into the village, where the youth admitted taking the items. They released the two boxes to the police, but they said Nene Dadebom Anim II, Chief of Toflokpo Salom, had travelled to the National Police Headquarters in Accra to surrender the gun,” he told The Chronicle at Kasseh, after The Chronicle had visited Luhuor on Sunday to take shots of the incidents and speak to some victims.

“On Friday morning, 10 police pickups and one bus, with police personnel numbering about 80, with some in face masks, stormed Luhuor, beating anybody in sight. The young men and the elderly who could flee were not spared the brutality,” he explained.

He said some West Ada Constituency Executives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Mr Agorhum, visited Luhuor earlier on Sunday to interact with the residents and sympathise with the victims before The Chronicle arrived at the village.

The Assemblyman said the police arrested 37 people to the Tema Regional Police Command. Additionally, he said about GHc2,000 and several mobile phones have gone missing.

Accounts by some victims
Thirty-five-year-old Ahuo Agu told The Chronicle that she was drying pepper on the compound when four police personnel, two in masks, pounced on her.

“I am not married so I was surprised they (police personnel) asked me of the whereabouts of my husband. I told them I was not in a relationship, but they didn’t believe me. One used something like a wire and lashed me very well, bruising me. One struck my knees with a short black stick. As I speak, my body and knees ache,” Ahuo told The Chronicle in the Ada local dialect.

Doyoe Sarbah, 65, said just when she had arrived at the village from Accra, where she trades from Monday to Thursday, about seven police personnel broke into her compound and directed her to lead them to where her husband was hiding.

Oblivious of what had happened the previous day, Madam Doyoe said she told her guests her husband might be on the farm, though she did not meet him at home when he arrived that Friday morning.

Speaking in the local Ada dialect, she said: “Two policemen and one policewoman entered my room and later came out to whisper something into the ears of their colleagues. Immediately, one asked me to kneel down with my hands raised. The next thing I felt on my back was a cane. Two young police ladies caned me and dragged me on the ground. I requested water as I was thirsty and the sun was burning that Friday morning. My little daughter brought me water but one policeman hit the cup from my mouth. At that moment, in fact, I thought I had died because I returned from Accra that Friday morning on an empty stomach. I later found myself in a neighbour’s room where my husband and children stood by me in tears.”

Mabel Gbenartey, the only store keeper in the village, narrated that she was indoors when her little daughter came to tell her that some people were at the shop.

“When I came out and saw the heavily-built police personnel, some wearing masks, I was terrified. Then, one in a really masculine voice asked me to produce my husband. When I told him that my husband works at Kasseh so he left at dawn for work, he told me that they were looking for their missing gun. I told them I was ready to lead them into my room to search for it.

“Then, I heard one them say they should carry out their instructions and leave. Immediately, they punched into the T&J covering the frontage of my kitchen, went into the room to destroy a few items and invaded my shop to my consume three loaves of bread, two crates of soft drinks and two boxes of Voltic bottled water.

“Only one policeman, Baba, whom I know at the Kasseh Police Station, paid for his bottled water. The rest did not pay me a pesewa. On top of that, they broke all my bottles. They consumed the items I buy on credit. The bread and drinks they consumed cost GHc500. I pay my creditors after selling the items. I don’t know how much the broken bottles will cost.

They lined most of us the women in the scorching sun and ordered us to look at the sun. In fact, I bled for some time,” she narrated.

Samuel Offoe, 61, said he was on his pepper farm when the police stormed Luhuor.

“When I came home, I realised that the dashboard of my tricycle had been destroyed. They did not touch me because look at my [slim] body…maybe I was fortunate.”

Victoria Tiaki Agbashi, 70, said she was indoors taking care of her ailing son, Ebenezer Nyarko, 47, when the police broke into her mud house home and dragged her out.

“I begged them to let me know what I had done. Immediately, one landed a hefty slap on my left cheek and wanted to know the identity of the person in the room. I told them that was my sick son. Four…no, three police personnel entered the room and dragged him on the ground into a vehicle they had parked. The Assemblyman told me that my son is in the custody of the Community One Police.”

When the police were contacted for their side of the story, they declined to comment.

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