Fireman Leads Armed Robbers To Attack Traders

Mon, 17 Sep 2001 Source: Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah

FOUR suspected armed robbers, including a fire officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, have been arrested by the Bolgatanga Police for allegedly robbing traders of several millions of cedis and CFA francs.

The traders, mostly women, were attacked while on their way from a market at Yuruwangu, a border town in the Upper East Region, last Friday.

Martin Akunbono, the fire officer, Shaibu Amidu, Shaibu Mohammed and Mumuni Biri were alleged to have blocked the road from Yuruwangu to Bolga with a big log to prevent three vehicles, on which the traders were travelling from the marketing centre to their destinations, from gettin free passage.

A fifth person, suspected to be a member of the gang, is on the run.

The suspects were alleged to have shot at the front tyres of the vehicles - a Benz cargo truck with registration number AS 1938 N; a DAF cargo truck, UE 1869 C, and a Leyland cargo truck with registration number AS 5851 D, before ordering the passengers out of the vehicles.

The suspected robbers thereafter ordered the traders to sit on the ground.

According to the Bolga Police, the robbers, who attacked the vehicles at about 7.30 p.m., succeeded in collecting from the traders and drivers several millions of cedis as well as CFA francs at gun-point. In the process, one of the traders was wounded in the leg.

Chief Inspector James Owusu, in charge of the police station, said in an interview that one of the women, who was robbed of ?15 million, was later given back ?1 million when she identified one of the robbers in the process.

He said three of the robbers were identified by some of the victims at the Bolgatanga Lorry Station, and they quickly alerted the police. They were subsequently arrested, while the Fire Service Officer was picked up later at his hideout at Navrongo, his duty station.

According to Chief Inspector Owusu, a taxi, with registration number AS 9377 C, which was alleged to have been used by the gang in their operation, has been impounded.

The Chief Inspector said the police have mounted an intensive search for the fifth suspected armed robber.

The driver of the DAF cargo truck, Oheneba Kusi, said in an interview that one of the robbers threatened to shoot him at the steering after he had been ordered to stop his vehicle and put off the lights.

He said when he came out with the others on board the vehicle, the robbers entered the truck and took away CFA 1,881,000 which was in a polythene bag on the front seat.

He wondered how the robbers managed to barricade the road with such a big log and described the frequent attack on traders on the highways as very frightening.

Source: Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah