Some rampaging police officers in Tamale have unleashed violence on scores of residents of a small community in the area in retaliation for what they said was an assault on one of their colleagues.
The Saturday dawn operation which lasted close to two hours saw the armed law enforcers fire gunshots outside and teargas into rooms of some of the residents of Changli while they were asleep, and whipped them without showing mercy on even children and women.
The apparent angry officers, who appeared not satisfied, again smashed the windows and windscreens of private cars, taxis and a school bus which were parked by the roadside within the vicinity.
Motorcycles, tricycles, poly tanks and television sets were not spared as the officers destroyed them for no apparent reason.
Although the 2:00 a.m. operation led by five senior officers was sanctioned by the Northern Regional Police Command, the Crime Officer, Supt. Kwabena Otuo Acheampong maintained “no one was told to go and assault children and women”.
“If there were excesses,” he said, “the people should report so the Command can investigate”.
Shamsia Sualisu who sustained gunshot wounds in the head is currently battling for her life at the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
Abdul Yakim Ibrahim, 12, could only utter few words when asked if he could recall exactly what happened in their room when the police officers arrived.
After taking a deep sigh, all he said was “they dragged me from under the bed and whipped me”.
Clear marks of assault were visible on the upper part of his left shoulder and close to his waistline, his left arm, and in his left palm.
His mother Ibrahim Sherifa, who was outraged, kept raining curses on the officers who had the heart to assault a 12-year-old in an attempt to pick suspects.
In the same house, Ibrahim Amina, and her three children Jalaldeen Osman, 6; Jalaldeen Sadia, 2; and Jalaldeen Fudais, six-month-old were sprayed with teargas.
Shani Mashood, 13, told 3news.com that after he had been beaten, he was bundled among suspects into a police vehicle but was released few meters away from his house.
Ibrahim Rahinatu, 40, and a nursing mother recounted she was beaten when she refused an order by the officers who broke into her room to put her three-week-old baby down. Her husband was away at the time, she said.
“They asked me to put the baby down and I said I won’t so they whipped me. I didn’t know why they asked that I did that and there was no way I was going to put my baby down,” she said.
At the end of the operation, Police 134 persons were arrested for allegedly being responsible for the Thursday evening assault on the policewoman.
“The suspects were screened, profiled, and investigations have started,” Supt. Kwabena Otuo Acheampong told 3news.com.
What triggered the ‘retaliatory attack’?
A female police corporal at the Tamale District Police Headquarters, Rita Aboagye, was beaten to a pulp by some residents of Changli and left unconscious in a gutter on Thursday, April 16.
This was when she and two other male officers from the Criminal Investigation Department arrived in the area at about 5:00 p.m. to arrest a woman in a theft case under investigation at the District Police Headquarters.
The officers were said to have arrived at a time that the suspect was praying in a mosque in front of her house.
She was signalled by Corporal Rita Aboagye to come and was told she was needed as part of an ongoing investigation.
But her sons were said to have been called to the scene and resisted attempts by the police to take the suspect away, a situation that led to an altercation and eventually an assault on Corporal Aboagye.