Regional News of Fri, 27 Feb 20040

Ritual murder trial of chief others adjourned

Sekondi, Feb. 27, GNA - The trial of the chief of Sefwi Tumantu and four other persons by a Sekondi high court for alleged ritual murder has been adjourned to March 10, 2004.

This is to enable the Police forensic laboratory in Accra, to verify the genuineness of one of the thumbprints of one of the suspects. The suspects are Nana Kwadwo Ahi also known as Kofi Sumena, chief, Okyeame kwadwo Nkuah, linguist, Kwasi Mintah, Yaw Pae and Yaw Mintah all farmers.

The defence lawyers for the suspects, led by Mr Arkaah Gyasi told the court that there were two different thumbprints on the police enquiry statements and he would therefore not accept it in evidence, until the thumbprints were proved to be genuine.

Mr Justice Clemence J. Honyenugah, the presiding judge, granted the request and directed officials of the court to send the statements to Accra for verification in the interest of fair play and justice before the case could be continued.

On Feb. 9 this year, Mr William Pobee, a principal state attorney told the court that the victim, Felicia Gyeabour, and her husband, Emmanuel Nketsiah, a settler farmer at Nyame Bekyere near Tumantu lived with a relative called Atta Kwaku.

In January 2001, Okyeame Nkuah, Kwasi Mintah, Pae and Yaw Mintah allegedly told Atta Kwaku that they needed the blood of a pregnant woman for rituals and requested his assistance to kill Gyeabour for the purpose.

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Mr Pobee said when Kwaku refused, the group threatened to kill him if he disclosed the matter to anyone and promised him a large tract of land to enable him cultivate cocoa farm if he assisted them. Kwaku out of fear, kept quiet over the issue the prosecutor said. In March 2001, Nketsiah travelled to his hometown in the Brong-Ahafo region, leaving his wife in the care of Kwaku.

The following day around 7 hours, Gyeabour also decided to travel to Kumasi and while Kwaku was walking with her to the lorry park, Mintah, Pae and Yaw Mintah approached them and said they would accompany the victim to the station since they were heading towards that direction.

Two days later, the group gave some items to Kwaku, which they claimed was from Gyeabour who was in Kumasi.

According to the prosecutor, Nketsiah returned a week later and was informed by Kwaku that his wife had travelled to Kumasi. Alarmed by the news, a search party was organized but Nana Ahi refused to mobilize the people to help in the exercise.

However, a group from other communities found Gyeabour's body at Yaw Pae's farm and Kwaku reported the matter to the police.

Source: GNA

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