Crime & Punishment Wed, 13 Nov 2019
Abdul-Salam Adamu’s whereabouts has remained unknown since police reportedly took him into custody in Bawku on Monday 21st October 2019; about 3 weeks ago.He was said to have been misperceived as a kidnapper and was almost dead when a police force snatched him from an angry mob at Pusiga, a district in the Upper East Region.
Eyewitnesses, who raised the alarm for police intervention as he came under a severe attack, told Starr News he was accused of kidnapping a boy in the border town.
And so hammered he was— with anything within the easy reach of the mob— that no sooner had the law enforcers supposedly taken him into the police station at Bawku than he was taken in a great hurry to the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital for emergency care.
“Some even picked up tyres, wanting to burn him. I rushed to the scene to pick him in my car but I was afraid they would smash the windscreens of my car. The angry crowd was so huge.
“Police came and dispersed the crowd. But surprisingly up to now, there is nobody in Pusiga who has complained that his or her son has been kidnapped or is missing,” the Assemblyman for Natinga-Zongo, Joseph Mbugri, narrated.
Approximately twelve hours after the man had been admitted to the hospital, his relatives and the assemblyman visited the health facility, but they could not find him.
“He was so beaten I was not [sure] he would survive the following morning. That’s why I woke up early and went to the police station to check on his condition. But I was told he had been taken to the hospital. I went there, too, I didn’t find him.
“A police officer told me the suspect requested this morning to buy porridge whilst he (the suspect) was at the emergency ward. He said he was handcuffed and that they allowed him to go and buy the porridge, but, according to the police officer, he managed to run away. Later, his relatives in Pusiga also said they had called other relatives in Bawku, Bolga, Kumasi and Accra to find out if they had heard anything about him but up to now nobody knows where he is,” the assemblyman said as he expressed a considerable shock at the story told by the police.
We held him as refugee not suspect - Police
When Starr News contacted the police at Pusiga on the matter, they declined to go beyond just saying they had not been authorised by the presiding Bawku Divisional Police Headquarters to speak to the media.
Speaking to the press, the Bawku Divisional Police Commander, ACP Yao Tettegah, said the command, after the mob attack, was holding the victim in its custody not as a suspect but as an asylum seeker until he, according to the commander, decided to walk away on his own.
“He’s not a suspect. We are just trying to save his life. So, if he decided to walk away whilst in police custody, we are not obliged to keep him,” he stated on the telephone.
Authorities at the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital were unable to tell the whereabouts of Abdul-Salam when Starr News engaged them on Tuesday evening.
“I can confirm that he visited the facility and was taken through the process of treatment,” the hospital’s Administrative Manager, John Azaare, said.
And when pressed further to ascertain if the patient was still at the hospital or if there was any proof he had been duly discharged from the facility, the Administrative Manager replied: “I’m unable to give you that information immediately.”
Family gives Police up to Friday
Abdul-Salam’s relations fear he is dead. And the fear is as strong as the open suspicion they also have that the police have a hand in his presumed death.
A street demonstration, they say, will rock Bawku from Friday onwards in demand for the whereabouts of the missing father of one.
“We are shocked as a family at this moment because, for about three weeks now, no investigation is going on. There is nothing showing the police are searching for Abdul-Salam who was in their custody when they said he disappeared.
“The family’s fear now is that the perpetrators might have connived with the police, killed this innocent guy and concealed the body so that the issue would be a foolish case. We even met this morning as a family. If we don’t hear anything up to this Friday, we are staging a demonstration against the police,” one of Abdul-Salam’s relations, Mohammed Salam, told Starr News on Tuesday with a tone of grief.