THE conduct of the police during the recent disturbances in Anloga over the alleged installation of Francis Nyonyo Agboada as Awoamefia of the Anloga traditional area has triggered mixed reactions.
While the four Members of Parliament from the area have condemned and also questioned the neutrality of the police, the Minister of the Interior, Kwamena Bartels, commended the police for the “professional manner”, they have handled the crises.
The MPs are Edward Doe-Adjaho, Ave Avenor, James Avedzi, Ketu-North, Albert Zigah, Ketu South, and Clement Humado, Anlo.
Both Mr. Bartels and the MPs were giving their assessments of the situation when they separately visited the area on Saturday and last Friday, respectively.
Four persons, including a policeman, died during clashes between the police and a section of the people
opposed to the installation of Mr. Agboada, also known as regent Togbui Sri III.
According to eyewitness reports, the immediate cause of the clashes last Thursday was that some youths opposed to Mr. Agboada blocked the entrance to the shrine where rites for the installation were to be performed. It is alleged that it was the attempt by the police to pave the way for the pro-Agboada faction to go ahead with the ceremony that incurred the wrath of the people who began to pelt the police with stones.
Mr. Doe-Adjaho, spokesperson for the group called on the government to institute an inquiry into the conduct of the police and apply the necessary sanctions.
“The Government must allow the due process of the law to take its course and sanction the police for the unprofessional manner they handled the situation resulting in deaths and injures and they need to be sanctioned”, Doe-Adjaho said.
He said the police are not kingmakers and their presence there was to assess the situation and protect the people. “Rather, they have become interested parties and supporting one faction against the other when the issue of the regency is pending before a judicial committee and would not allow the judicial process to take its course”.
“An impartial enquiry will ensure that those policemen who took the law into their own hands and could have forestalled the crises should face the full riguors of the law”, he stated.
Mr. Bartels however said the government appreciated the immense sacrifice of the police which he said resulted in the loss of a colleague.
“In spite of that, you acted professionally by restraining yourselves and not visiting your anger and passion on the people”.
He urged them to ensure law and order, in the area adding that the dusk-to-down curfew imposed in the area must not be relaxed for another explosion to occur.
The Minister of Defence, Albert Kan-Dapaah, said the people of the area are law-abiding and therefore appealed to them to maintain a high level of discipline in handling the situation.
Earlier, the government delegation visited the Warnugah, the shrine where the crisis erupted, as well as the spot where the body of the policeman, Constable Moses Depah, was found.
They also visited the Keta Government Hospital where six people who were severely injured are receiving treatment.
They expressed their condolences to the bereaved families and wished those on admission speedy recovery.
The Regional Police Commander, Bernard Dery and Edward Ahiabor, the Keta District Chief Executive, briefed the delegation on the situation.
They said even though the situation has been brought under control, there was still uneasy calm in the area and therefore called for vehicles and logistics to enable the security agencies carry out their duties more effectively.
Other members of the delegation included Mr. Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Mr. Kofi Dzamesi, the Volta Regional Minister.
Meanwhile, 74 people who were arrested from the area, are being screened for their possible involvement in the disturbances according to the police authorities.
The Ghanaian Times - Monday, November 5, 2007 Page: 1 &7