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General News of Friday, 9 February 2007

Source: The Statesman

Criminals take over Cemetery

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Criminals and hoodlums have taken over the Tafo cemetery, the biggest graveyard in Kumasi. These gangs of criminals have besieged the cemetery and are making life unbearable not only for the living but also for the dead, whose final resting place has come under siege. The criminals attack passers-by even in broad daylight, robbing them of their valuables and inflicting knife wounds on them in some cases.

In the night, the situation becomes even worse as they become more brazen in their activities and extend their operations to the Tafo neighbourhood, snatching cars at gun point.

The criminals take advantage of the poor lighting system in the area and the overgrown nature of the graveyard to carry out their criminal activities. Many of them have made the cemetery their home and information gathered has established that some even live at the burial grounds with their girl friends. "They cook here, take their bath here and sleep here. This is virtually their home,” one resident of Tafo has said.

Further probes revealed that many of the criminals not only take drugs but also sell the illegal substances, in what has become a booming trade at Tafo and other communities in the metropolis such as Ash Town, Allabar, Krofrom and Moshie Zongo. The dead have also had their fair share of troubles with these miscreants. Their graves are vandalised by the criminals searching for gold and other ornaments they believe may have been buried with the corpses. “Human parts which are believed to have spiritual qualities and useful on the drug trade are also not spared,” one insider said.

Due to this development most bereaved families destroy the coffin during the burial of their loved ones to make it unattractive to the criminals.

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