Some residents of Bolgatanga say armed robbers have worked out a new way of stealing from motorists on the roads of the Upper East regional capital.
The gangsters, according to them, stand well-dressed by the roadside and, with pistols concealed under their clothes, draw closer in a friendly manner to any motorcyclist as road users are being held at an intersection by the red traffic lights.
Once they are close enough, they start a brief chat with the biker with audible greetings. Soon after the conversation begins, they draw out a handgun exposed only to their target and whisper a strong caution for calm. At that time, onlookers far and near would think that the spectacle (which is actually a highway raid) is a usual roadside gathering of old pals whose paths have crossed again.
Then, they whisper a stern order to the victim to quietly hand over the bike to them and to either remain calm at the spot until they leave with the automobile or get shot for any gesture of resistance.
“Just recently, a woman was riding on the Bolgatanga-Navrongo Highway around 7:00pm and a man stopped her around the regional library junction as if they knew each other. One might even think the man wanted the woman to give him a ride. The woman stopped. He walked to her and whilst he was talking with her, the woman got down from the motorbike. The guy rode the bike away. It was after he had gone far out of reach the woman began to wail. She then narrated to a crowd that she had been robbed of her motorbike at gunpoint by a man who stopped her as though he needed assistance,” an eyewitness (name withheld) told Starr News on Tuesday.
It has also been reported that a raid was launched on a biker in a similar style some time ago around an old steel bridge that links the Bolgatanga Municipality and the Bolgatanga East District.
The Bolgatanga Divisional Commander of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Dela K. Dzansi, advised the public in a Starr News interview: “If you have other road users around you when you are under such an attack, you could raise alarm because he couldn’t have fired you alone. Or you can jerk up your motorbike for the motorbike to fly out of your body and fall on the ground. That will confuse the person and you can raise alarm. We will be making the police mount checks at the various traffic lights. They will be parking there intermittently and be observing.”
Armed robber reportedly lynched at Nyariga
Reports also emerged this month about a failed attempt by a four-member armed gang to rob at Nyariga, a community in Bolgatanga.
Overpowered by members of the community, the hoodlums fled in different directions. One of the armed robbers was overtaken, caught and lynched, according to sources who now fear that the escapees might return with reinforcements from their hideouts to the area and stage a tit-for-tat attack for the killing of one of their own.
About two weeks ago, some men in masks gunned down two drivers at the Pusu-Namongo area of the Bolgatanga-Tamale Highway and robbed the occupants of the vehicles of large sums of money. Hours later, angry members of the Ghana National Tomato Traders and Transporters Association staged a protest on that highway because the affected travellers were on a business trip to Burkina Faso to purchase tomatoes. The development prompted the Inspector General of Police (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh, to order police protection for tomato traders travelling from Ghana to Burkina Faso.
Just last week, another armed-robbery incident saw a cattle dealer killed near Katiu in the Kassena-Nankana West District. There had been a robbery raid the previous day by some armed men who also held some market women at gunpoint and raped them on the Chiana-Sandema Road.
A serial social-media critic of armed robbers in Chiana, an area in the Kassena Nankana West District, had luck on his side when some masked men scaled the fence around his house and attempted to break in upon entering the compound.
“The man has been criticising armed robbers on social-media platforms and his criticisms have intensified of late because of the recent spate of armed robbery attacks in the region. The man and his wife were absent at the time the men arrived. But his children were at home. As the men were trying to force the main door open, one of the children noticed it and thought their parents had arrived home.
“But in order to be sure first that the people at the door were their parents before he would open the door, he walked to the window side to take a peep. But he rather saw those men, each of them in a hood (a piece of cloth covering their heads). He became frightened and sounded the alarm. The scream scared off the men. But as they were leaving, they said the man (their target) was fortunate that he was not around to have suffered for the social-media comments he had been passing against them,” a resident of the area told Starr News by phone.