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General News of Wednesday, 22 January 2014


It’s a hoax! Crowds gather to see human heads

A large crowd besieged the Accra Central Police Station yesterday when word went round that a female head porter had been arrested with six human heads.

Although it was difficult to tell the source of the rumour, most of the people who thronged the station claimed they had heard it on some radio stations.

The crowd, dominated by head porters, popularly referred to as Kayayei, also included hawkers, market women and shoppers.

When the Daily Graphic got to the scene about 10 a.m., policemen on duty at the police station who considered the rumour a hoax were having a hectic time trying to disperse the crowd.


The presence of the crowd forced the policemen to block all entrances to the station but that did not deter the people, who drew closer and insisted they wanted to see the human heads, while the kayayei in the crowd pleaded with the police to release their colleague.

Vehicles and pedestrians could not move freely as the road in front of the police station was taken over by the crowd.

The commotion brought trading activities in the central business district (CBD) of Accra to a temporary halt, as shopkeepers locked their shops to catch a glimpse of the alleged suspect and the human heads.


It was also an opportunity for some criminals such as pickpockets to have their way, as a 27-year-old woman, Beatrice Nyameko, was seen crying following the loss of her GH¢700.

Nyameko, a student, said she had gone to the CBD to buy some items for school.

“When I heard about the bag of human heads which a kayayo was carrying, I followed the people. At a point when I removed my phone to make a call, I realised my purse was gone,” she explained.

The crowd, which had hung around from the morning, started dispersing in disappointment about 12 noon when they realised that the information they had been given was false.

The strange woman

According to Alima Musah, a head porter, she had been told that a woman had hired the services of one of her colleague porters to carry a heavy sack to a point.

She said while her colleague was following the woman with the load, an Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) official approached the porter to pay her daily toll.

“I heard that even though the kayayo wanted to pay the regular fee, the AMA officer said she should pay more, since her load was bigger, and that resulted in a quarrel,” Alima narrated.

She said when the kayayo tried to by-pass the AMA?official, her pan fell and the contents of the sack were exposed.

“That was when the people around claimed that they saw human heads,” she said.

“Sensing danger, the owner of the alleged heads disappeared and the kayayo was arrested and sent to the police station. That is why we are here,” Alima said, with her head pan balanced on her head.

Rumour on radio

When the Accra Regional Police Commander, Mr Christian Tetteh Yohonu, was contacted, he said he heard about the rumour when some radio stations called him to find out if the police had arrested a kayayo with human heads.

“When I went out of the office, I found a crowd,” he said, and added, “The crowd has been building up since morning. The people are pouring in from all over, with the notion that the police are hiding something from them.”

Rumours in the past

This is not the first time that a hoax has sent gullible people on a wild goose chase.

Some people who spoke to the Daily Graphic expressed worry that such rumours brought memories of the past when people were lynched in broad daylight as a result of rumours.

In January 2006, there had been a rumour that a kayayo had been transformed into a fowl by a magician in the full glare of other kayayei, motorists, hawkers, among others.

When an alarm was raised, policemen at a traffic point close by rescued the magician who was nearly lynched.

However, the rumour continued to spread even when the police had established that it was a false alarm, leading to people converging on the police station.

In another instance, a rumour that a handshake with another person had led to the disappearance of that man’s sexual organs led to the lynching of a number of innocent people in Accra.