The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Ashanti Region Office in Kumasi was turned into a war zone yesterday, as two rival vigilante groups of the party engaged in a fierce shootout, resulting in the death of one person.
Another person also sustained life-threatening injuries during the incident.
The Hawks, a deadly vigilante group in the NDC, openly shot two members of the NDC Taskforce in a clear Hollywood fashion in the full glare of the public.
One Wasiu Iddrisu, a top member of the NDC Taskforce, died instantly after he was shot multiple times.
Another NDC Taskforce member, identified as Abdul Rahman, was also hit by bullets.
He is in a critical condition at a hospital in Kumasi.
NDC national executives, including Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah and Barbara Serwah Asamoah, among others, who were meeting Ashanti regional executives to restore peace in the party at the time of the incident, reportedly had to flee through windows to save their lives.
They were holding a meeting at the party office at Amakom to address the numerous problems facing the party in the various constituencies in the region when hell broke loose suddenly.
Before the commencement of the meeting, 20 party vigilantes, belonging to the ‘Hawks,’ descended on the compound.
Their presence prompted fears that something ominous was about to happen, especially when about 15 members of a second NDC vigilante group, Taskforce had also taken position on the premises.
Cause of fight
Reports suggested that there is bad blood between the two deadly groups which are fighting for supremacy in the region.
However, it turned fatal, resulting in the death of Wasiu said to be stoutly-built.
The Hawks, who were dressed like mercenaries going to war, pulled their guns and started firing in all directions, causing fear and panic.
The main suspect, nicknamed ‘Warrior,’ a member of ‘The Hawks,’ reportedly fired multiple times at the deceased Wasiu Iddrisu, 34, with his pistol.
Reports say Abdul Rahman Issah, a member of the rival vigilante group, Taskforce, in an attempt to disarm ‘The Warrior,’ sustained multiple shots after which the suspect and his group mounted their motorbikes and fled.
Mahama’s Boot for Boot
Former President John Dramani Mahama recently stated that no political party in the country could unleash violence better than the NDC.
Speculations in Kumasi indicated that the former President’s recent comments had gingered the NDC hoodlums in Kumasi to openly exhibit their notoriety.
According to reports, the NDC national and regional executives had failed to convince one Mubarak Masaudu to step down and allow incumbent Asawase MP, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, to go unopposed as NDC parliamentary candidate for the 2020 polls.
Mubarak Masaudu, who is currently popular in Asawase, insisted that he would contest for the Asawase NDC seat, virtually snubbing the party’s leadership.
Hawks vrs Taskforce
The party gurus called the leadership of the two deadly NDC vigilante groups to resolve the impasse.
But before the Hawks and the NDC Taskforce members could enter the meeting venue, they suddenly turned the compound of the regional office into a boxing arena, as they exchanged hefty blows to the surprise of people at the scene.
The free-for-all fight then metamorphosed into weapons firing as the Hawks, who were wielding pump action guns and other weapons, allegedly started pulling the triggers.
The taskforce members were hit by some of the bullets, resulting in the death of Wasiu and severe injuries to Abdul Rahman.
Run for life
The meeting, which was expected to restore peace in the party, ended up deepening the already volatile relationship among the two NDC factions in the Ashanti Region.
Armed policemen, who were called to the scene, managed to restore law and order later, but the members of the Hawks had fled the scene.
Empty bullet shells expended at the crime scene have been retrieved by the police.
The party itself issued a statement after the incident to confirm the bloody clash.
A statement, signed by Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NDC, Kwame Zu, said there was a party meeting which was attended by Ofosu Ampofo and Asiedu Nketiah, the NDC National Chairman and General Secretary respectively.
It said the gunshots were fired outside the venue which resulted in the death one person.
“Some men on motorbike, wielding guns, attacked a gathering outside, shot indiscriminately and sped off.”
“We regret to announce that one of the two men who were shot has passed on and the other is in critical condition at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
“The regrettable incident occurred while a meeting between the national chairman, the general secretary, and the regional executive committee was ongoing,” he narrated.
In the melee, a vehicle belonging to Yamoah Ponkoh, a leading member of the party, was reportedly vandalised by the hoodlums.
The police, in a statement, stated they are looking for four suspects, namely, Hussein Barnabas, aka Warrior, Damos, Mijima and Abu Taliban.
They added that the crime scene had been cordoned off.