V/R: Five more grabbed over stolen rifles, invasion of police stations

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Police begin search for persons behind Western Togoland signposts in Eastern Region

Five more persons have been picked up in connection with the stealing of 10 AK-47 rifles and besieging the Aveyime and Mepe police stations in the Volta Region.

The accused are Ebenezer Nyalatsi, Stephen Kpehor, Abenego Edo Dotse, Kpexor Besa, and Cephas Zodanu.

Twelve persons have been picked so far for besieging the two police stations.

The five accused have been jointly charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit crime, stealing and causing unlawful damage.

The court presided over by Mrs Ellen Offei Ayeh, preserved their pleas and remanded them into Police custody to reappear on October 21.

Their charges and facts were read out in court.

Turning down the accused bail application, the court in its ruling, ordered the Police to grant them adequate access to their relations as “frequently and reasonably possible.”

The court further directed the Police to send Nyalatsi, who had a swollen face and bruises on the ears, and any other accused needing treatment to the hospital.

Additionally, the court directed the police to seek the Attorney General’s advice on the matter.

Mr. Theophilus Donkor, who represented the accused, prayed the court to take a look at the swollen face of Nyalatsi and the other accused persons, noting that it appeared they had been assaulted by the military and the police and they had not been sent to the hospital.

Mr. Donkor said from the demeanour of the accused persons, it looked like his clients had been punished although the court had not passed its sentence and that they had also not been given access to their relations.

According to the defense counsel, no law prevented the court from exercising its discretion when it came to the grant of bail.

He said the accused persons would appear to stand trial, and they would not in any way interfere with police investigations and prayed the court to admit the accused on bail on flexible terms.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Fuseini Yakubu who held the brief of ASP Sylvester Asare, opposed the grant of bail, saying the matter before the court had national security implications.

ASP Yakubu said the conspirators of the accused persons were on the run and efforts were being made to retrieve nine out of the 10 stolen rifles.

He said if the accused were granted bail, they would interfere with investigations and may also not avail themselves.

On the assault of the accused person, ASP Yakubu explained that because the accused persons were armed, the police used “minimum force” before arresting them.

The case of the prosecution is that the accused are residents of Mafi Jasikan in the Volta Region and also members of a prohibited group known as Western Togoland Organisation in the Volta Region.

Prosecution said on September 25, this year, accused together with others numbering over 20, now on the run, armed themselves with offensive weapons such as guns, cutlasses and besieged the Aveyime and Mepe police stations respectively.

The prosecution said the accused persons attacked the Charge Office of police stations and vandalized Police vehicles, computers, office furniture worth GH¢50,000.00.

According to Prosecution, they further broke into the armouries of the two Police Stations and made away with 10 AK47 rifles and a police patrol vehicle.

The prosecution said the accused and their accomplices fled from the scene amidst firing into the air to ward off members of the community. Accused and their accomplices later abandoned the Police vehicle in a secluded place and went into hiding.

On October 5, this year, the accused persons were arrested in their hideout at Mafi Jasikan.

“One AK 47 rifle belonging to the Police with live ammunitions and two locally manufactured single barrel guns were retrieved from them. Efforts are being made to trace their accomplices and retrieve the remaining stolen rifles,” the Prosecutor said.