On March 12, Ghana’s worst fears were confirmed; the deadly Coronavirus which has been drilling countries around the world found its way past the country’s borders and clutched its first two victims. Within a week, the country had moved from just panic to actual action having confirmed about 7 cases of the virus.
First came the restrictions on the admittance of travellers from countries with at least 200 cases of Coronavirus, then the ban on all public gatherings, closure of all schools, a lockdown subsequently and then a lift, total closure of the country’s borders, among others.
The government indeed was doing everything in its power to contain the virus and stop the spread. There was no doubt the infiltration of the virus meant dire economic consequences for the country.
Businesses have had to be on hold because exports and imports are not going out and coming in respectively. Things are ridiculously expensive as traders try to make do with the little they have, the government has had to spend a lot more, other businesses are not as vibrant because except necessary, most people are voluntarily choosing to stay home.
Economic hardships among other things, also have consequences because it means citizens have to apply innovation and look for alternative decent ways of making ends meet.
So it is, for people who have had to change their line of trade; tailors, seamstresses, for instance, are now focusing mostly on producing locally-made facemasks which are sold, most people have turned to the food business to survive, among others.
Some others, miscreants who would rather go for the easier way out, have turned to robbery. Before the advent of Coronavirus, robbery has been something the country’s security forces have had to deal with but it appears to have perhaps increased during this period.
Parts of the country have experienced some major robbery incidents within the past two months.
Here’s a compilation of some of them:
Daylight robbery incident at Tema, 2 suspects shot dead:
On Thursday, April 23, 2020, armed men immobilised the car tyres of a Lebanese man in a daylight robbery.
The victims, a Ghanaian and a Lebanese who had been to the bank to withdraw some money, over a GHc100,000 were crossed by these robbers on a motorbike who tried to shoot at them.
Luck eluded these robbers when policemen who gave them a hot chase upon a tip from witnesses opened fire, killing both robbers.
The stolen money was scattered in the process of the exchange between the police and the robbers, only GHC 2,500 was salvaged according to police reports.
Robbers steal GH¢600,000 from bullion van:
On the evening of Friday, May 8, 2020, armed robbers attacked and robbed at gunpoint, a bullion van carrying an unspecified amount of money from Techiman to Sunyani. Reports suggest a whopping amount of GHC600,000 was stolen.
The incident happened at the outskirts of a village called Maampehia in Techiman.
The Bono East Regional Police Commander, DCOP Djan Kyere who spoke to Daily Guide confirmed that at about 5:30pm on Friday, the bullion van (GT 3181-W) belonging to Absa Bank in the town was loaded with money, with a police officer and a cash boy on board, including the driver of the van.
They were heading towards Sunyani but on reaching the outskirts of Maapehia, four armed robbers opened fire on the van. The driver, Frank Agyemang, in an attempt to reverse the car, was shot in the hand through the window, and it injured Lance Corporal Yussifi Abubakar as well.
The robbers brought out the container with the money, broke it open and took away the money, leaving behind smaller denominations on the street in the community.
Police followed up soon as information reached them but couldn’t find the robbers. The policeman who sustained a minor injury and the driver were rushed to the Techiman Holy Family Hospital, where they were treated and discharged.
Armed robbers attack over 100 villagers from Kayoro:
Over a hundred villagers from Kayoro in the Kassena-Nankana West district were attacked by armed robbers suspected to be Fulani Herdsmen on the morning of Friday, May 8, 2020.
The incident which happened at Bugani, a spot along the Kayoro- Katiu road saw the robbers blocking the road at that spot for close to three hours. They subjected villagers using the stretch to beatings with the butts of their guns and robbed them of money amounting to Ghc50,000, two motorbikes and other valuables.
The villagers were traders and farmers going to do business at the Chiana Market - the biggest market in the Western zone of the district when the incident happened. One of the victims and a Teacher, Albert Apuri, recounting the incident in an interview with GhanaWeb’s Senyalah Castro said, the robbers ordered them to lie down on their bellies while they carried out the inhumane act.
He said the robbers, numbering about six, ransacked their pockets, bags, vehicles and other belongings amidst gunshots.
Armed robbers torment Afram Plains:
Armed robbers attacked passengers who were travelling from Agordeke to Donkokrom after market activities at Kpando on May 6, 2020. The victims who had spotted a motorbike lying in the middle of the road just before entering Asempaneye thought it was an accident, but it turned out to be a trap set by the robbers.
The armed robbers, about 10 in number, attacked four vehicles with passengers on board at Asempaneye, a few metres from Amankwakrom in the Afram Plains District, at about 5:00 pm.
They managed to take away valuable items including cash, mobile phones, ATM cards, ID cards, among others, and also vandalized the windscreens and some other parts of the vehicles amid the firing of gunshots.
The two drivers, whose vehicles were attacked, expressed disappointment in the police for failing to come to their rescue after receiving their distress calls. According to police sources, the Amankwakrom police could not rush to the scene on time because they lacked logistics, and officers from Donkokrom arrived late due to the poor nature of the road.
Armed robbers attack black market exchange traders at Paga Border:
On Tuesday 19 May 2020, six men armed with guns attacked traders at the Ghana-Burkina Faso border in Paga, robbing them of their monies in different currencies. The robbery which happened on the Burkina Faso side of the border near Dakola affected traders who had just begun the day’s business at the black market.
According to information gathered, the robbers arrived on three motorcycles and attacked the traders who were their main target.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to GhanaWeb’s Senyalah Castro narrated, that four of the robbers blocked both sides of the ECOWAS road amidst sporadic shots, while two moved from one stall to another, coercing the traders to part with their monies.
One eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, said some of the traders resisted the coercion of the robbers and ran toward Ghana’s border prompting the Immigration Service and Customs Force to return fire which forced the robbers to abandon their operation and take to their heels.
The eyewitness continued that the Immigration Service later called for backup from the Police SWAT Team and Army stationed in the area. The joint security forces pursued the robbers and apprehended two members of the syndicate at Pindaa. The rest managed to escape on their motorbikes into the bush cover.