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General News of Wednesday, 25 January 2017


Factions clash at Ga Mantse Palace

The police trying to restore order at the palace. Picture: EMMANUEL QUAYE

Residents of some parts of North Kaneshie in Accra were forced to run for their lives yesterday morning when a gun battle erupted between factions of the Ga State at the Ga Mantse Palace.

The incident, which occurred around 8 a.m., also brought business activities around North Kaneshie and its surrounding communities to a halt, with employees and business owners abandoning their shops for fear of being hit by stray bullets.

The gun exchange was so dreadful to the extent that most of the people who fled, majority of them women, had to beg occupants of some houses to hide them in those houses.

Although the police were present in their numbers on the premises of the Ga Mantse Palace, the two groups were not bothered, as they kept firing at each other.

In the course of the exchanges, three men sustained injuries. One of them, who had used a machete to slash the right hand of another person, was nearly lynched but for the timely intervention of the police.

The police, although fully armed, did not take part in the exchange because of the difficulty in identifying the members of the two groups. The attire they wore made it extremely difficult for them to be identified.

What started the fight?

Explaining what had brought about the confrontation, an eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a group of armed macho men invaded the premises of the Ga Mantse Palace to disrupt an ongoing ceremony to install the new Ga Mantse, Nii Adama Latse, following an order given by the Accra High Court on Nii Latse’s behalf.

Numbering about 50, the witness said, the group tried to force their way into the palace, although the main gate had been locked.

“The other group of men, who were already inside the premises, attempted to stop the invading force and that led to a fight,” the witness said.

According to the witness, the exchange of fire began when the second group that had come to halt the installation ceremony called for re-enforcement.

“One of the men gave a warning shot and that brought about the exchange of fire,” the witness added.

Police invasion

A policeman, who also pleaded anonymity, said they did not intervene initially because they were waiting for orders from their superiors.

“When we arrived, we realised that some men were making the attempt to enter the chief’s palace, but before we could talk to them, we heard a gunshot. We didn’t want to force our way through because we were told to hold on until given further instructions,” he said.

Realising that the fire exchanges were becoming dreadful, he said, the officer in charge called for re-inforcement.

“It was at that point that the men who were in the Ga Mantse Palace started escaping by jumping over the walls. Most of them had come on motorbikes but they abandoned them and fled,“ he said.

He said the police had to ask the people to discontinue the installation rites because they did not follow the Public Order Act which mandated them to notify the police before embarking on any public event.

As part of measures to safeguard the area, the police mounted a massive wall around the Ga Mantse Palace and closed the road in front of the building.