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General News of Thursday, 9 November 2000

Source: GNA

Regional Minister orders closure of FM Radio station

Sunyani (Brong Ahafo) - The Chris FM, a private radio station at Berekum, was closed down on Wednesday on the orders of the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Donald Adabre.

Soldiers from the Liberation Barracks have surrounded the station, which is housed in a private two-story building, according to an employee who spoke to the press by telephone.

The closure of the station is believed to be in connection with violent clashes between supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Sunday.

Nineteen people, 18 of them believed to be supporters of the NDC, sustained various degrees of injury and were treated and discharged at the Berekum Holy Family Hospital.

It took the police more than two hours to bring the situation under control.

Supporters of the two political parties were returning to Berekum later in the day after attending rallies at nearby Senase and Akoforo when the incident occurred.

Windscreens of four buses and a campaign vehicle on which NDC supporters were riding were smashed.

Frank Agyemang Konadu, 17, student, and Kofi Twumasi, 19, a shoeshine boy, both said to be NPP supporters, were arrested by the police.

Mr Oheneba Owusu, programme officer of Chris FM, on Monday told the GNA that a few hours before the incident, Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Darteh (Rtd), NPP parliamentary candidate for Berekum, had spoken on the radio in a scheduled political programme.

Mr Owusu denied that Capt. Effah-Darteh, who is said to be out of the country, made any inflammatory statement during the "Kabi na me nka bi" political programme, adding that a recorded version of the programme has been handed over to the Berekum police to enhance their investigation.

Mrs Mary Boakye, Berekum District Chief Executive, told newsmen on telephone that she could not comment on the closure of the station. Efforts to reach the Regional Minister also proved futile.

Meanwhile, the Brong Ahafo Regional Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association, at an emergency meeting, has expressed grave concern over the closure of the station and called for thorough investigations into the matter.