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General News of Thursday, 26 June 2003

Source: gna

"I did not kill Ya-Na" - Yidana tells Court

Yidana Sugri, one of two accused persons standing trial for the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, Paramount Chief of Dagbon Traditional Area, on Wednesday told the Accra High Court that he had no idea about the assassination of the Chief.

Sugri also denied conspiring with Iddrisu Gyanfo, his accomplice to assassinate Ya-Na Andani. Sugri, who was opening his defence in the case in which he and Gyanfo have been jointly charged with conspiracy and murder of the Ya-Na, said he had only heard the name of Ya-Na but did not know him.

Sugri and Gyanfo have pleaded not guilty to the charge and have been refused bail by the trial judge Justice Yaw Appau.

Sugri, who was led by his Counsel Nana Obiri Boahene, told the court that he did not know all the prosecution witnesses in the case and denied tying a robe on the severed arm of Ya-Na Andani and dancing with it. Sugri said on 25 to 27 March 2002, he never went out of his house at Yendi.

The accused said he heard people running helter-skelter but he did not ask any of the people the reasons for their action. The accused stated that he did not enquire from the people because he was afraid and his father had warned him to stay out of trouble.

When the accused was asked whether he knew the Bolin Lana and where he lived, Sugri replied: "I know where the Bolin Lana was residing but I have never set eyes on him and I have never set foot in his house."

The accused denied ever mentioning in his statements to the Police that he saw Gyanfo holding the severed head of Ya-Na. Sugri further denied ever mentioning to the Police that he saw Gyanfo presenting the head of the Ya-Na to Zalanko-Lana.

The accused denied that when the head of Ya-Na was presented the Zalanko-Lana he recited some incantation on it and a photograph was taken.

Sugri said soldiers arrested him at Tamale three months after the death of Ya-Na while he was on a vehicle after purchasing some items. He was escorted and handed over to the Police.

Counsel: Do you know why you were arrested?

Accused: I was told that the authorities suspected me of murdering the


Counsel: Can you identify those who interrogated you?

Accused: No.

Counsel: Do you know Charles Adablah, the investigator?

Accused: I don't know him.

Asked whether he had been ever released in connection with the case, the accused said he was released after his arrest but re-arrested and sent to Suyani.

During cross-examination by Anthony Gyambiby, Principal State Attorney, the accused admitted residing at Yendi all his lifetime.

Prosecution: And all these years you do not know the late Ya-Na.

Accused: Yes.

Prosecution: Are you aware of the Damba and the Bugum festivals?

Accused: Yes, I have heard the names of the festivals, but I don't know how they are celebrated. I don't go near durbar grounds.

When the Prosecution asked the accused person where he was arrested he stated that he was arrested at Tamale while he was transporting goods to the neighbouring villages. He disagreed with the Prosecution that he escaped to Tamale.

The accused further disagreed with a suggestion that he was shown a photograph of Iddrisu Gyanfo holding the head of the Ya-Na, which he identified. He denied holding the severed hand of the late Ya-Na. He also denied a suggestion that Gyanfo also held the head of the Paramount Chief.

Sitting continues on June 26.