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15 January 2017

Police act tough. Commence arrest of political activists seizing state assets

John Kudalor, IGP

“Crimes do not have political party colours. So any act perpetrated in political garb will be stripped of political apparel and be dealt with as crime,” the police said.

The decision of the police follows series of attacks on political party opponents by some youth and vandalisation and seizure of  state and private properties in the aftermath of the declaration of the 2016 presidential and parliamentary election results as well as the inauguration of Ghana’s new President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo.

Attacks

There are reports of political party supporters invading some state institutions, including the Passport Office, Tema Harbour and other facilities such as tollbooths and toilets to take over their management.

Some political party supporters have also attempted to take over the operation of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) in some districts without authority.

So far, 23 people have been arrested for allegedly attempting to take over state properties or attacking their political opponents across the country.

While those arrested have either been put before court or are still being investigated, the police are hunting for some 12 other people who are believed to be accomplices of some of the arrested suspects.

Public outcry

Speaking to journalists on post-election violence in Accra yesterday, the Director of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent of Police, Mr Cephas Arthur, said “all acts that breach the law will be considered purely on the basis of being criminal acts and not acts perpetrated by political functionaries.”

He said there had been calls on the police to bring the perpetrators to book following the development and “the Police Administration wants to assure the public that every effort is being made to maintain law and order in the country”.

Cases

Giving a breakdown of cases and arrests made so far, he said, in the Central Region, five persons were arrested for their involvement in attacks and reprisal attacks in Twifo Praso.

However, while the case was before the court, Mr Arthur said the Twifo Heman Traditional Council requested that the case be withdrawn for settlement outside the court.

“The request was granted, and we have received reports that the council sat on the case for the first time on January 11, 2017,” he said.

In the meantime, seven accomplices of the suspects, Mr Arthur said, had been declared wanted by the police for their  involvement in the attacks on their political opponents.

In the Greater Accra Region, Mr Arthur said 10 people had been arrested by the police and they were all processed for court but have since been granted bail by the courts.

In the Brong Ahafo Region, he said, five persons, including an Assembly Member, Mark Tetteh, were arrested for breaching the law.

Two more persons were in the custody of the police for allegedly attacking some supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and were being processed for court.

“In the case of the perpetrators who are at large, the police shall continue to pursue them until they are arrested to face the law,” he said.

Strategies

To protect public properties, Mr Arthur said the police had deployed personnel to some vital state installations and some state institutions which were the targets of attacks and invasions.

Additionally, he said the police had also intensified their patrols and intelligence to ensure maximum security of the lives of the public and properties.

To fight what he described as a canker, Mr Arthur urged the public to volunteer information to the police, while the police continued to intensify their operational strategies to ensure the maintenance of peace, law and order in the country.

Source:EMELIA ENNIN ABBEY

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