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General News of Monday, 4 October 2010

Source: GNA

Security agencies implicated in Ya-Na's murder

Accra, Oct. 4 GNA - Alhaji Mustapha Imoro, a Civil servant and former Accountant at the Yendi District Assembly, on Friday implicated the security agencies in the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, the Overlord of Dagbon.

He said at the time that the Ya-Na was killed, there were enough police and military personnel at Yendi who could have been ordered to rescue the Ya-Na.

Alhaji Imoro said that on the day of the murder, about 100 policemen and over 60 military men had been sent to Yendi with a water cannon vehicle, in addition to an armoured car, which was at the Yendi military barracks.

The Prosecution witness was testifying when Mr Solomon Atadzi, Principal State Attorney, led him in evidence at the ongoing Ya-Na murder trial at a Fast Track High Court in Accra. All the 14 persons on trial for their alleged involvement in the assassination of Ya-Na Andani and 30 others in March 2002, have pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to murder and murder.

They are Mohammed Habib Tijani, former District Chief Executive (DCE) of Yendi, Iddrisu Iddi, 76, Alhaji Baba Iddrisu Abdulai, 54, Kwame Alhassan, 53, and Mohammadu Abdulai, 57.

The others are Saibu Mohammed, 34, Alhassan Mohammed Briamah, 40, Alhassan Ibrahim, Mohammed Mustapha and Sani Moro. The rest are Yakubu Usifu, Ahmed Abukari, Abdul Razak Usifu and Alhassan Braimah.

Zakaria Forest, the man alleged to have cut-off the head and hands of the Ya-Na is at large.

Alhaji Imoro said on March 26, 2002, when he was in his office at the Yendi District Assembly around 1315 hours, Tijani, asked him to be on standby duty.

Alhaji Imoro said not long after the instruction, the former DCE and he (Alhaji Imoro) joined a vehicle that was driven from the Assembly to the Yendi military barracks and they met a military officer, who complained that the armoured car there could not be operated because of battery problem.

He said that when they returned to the District Assembly, the former DCE ordered the District Coordinating Director to remove the battery from a one of the cesspit trucks and send it the military barracks to be fixed in the armoured.

Alhaji Imoro said he and the former DCE on the way to Tamale asked Abdul Razak Usifu to join them in the vehicle around the Yendi market. The witness said the former DCE told them that they were going to Tamale because the telephone lines in Yendi were down.

Alhaji Imoro said the former DCE told him that he (former DCE) took that step so that he Alhaji Imoro and Abdul Razak Usifu, who are Andani and Abudu respectively would bear witness to him and for he (Alhaji Imoro) to brief the Ya-Na about what would take place at Tamale. He said whiles on their way to Tamale, they met a military pickup and the former DCE spoke to the military officer in the vehicle and they continued their journey.

Alhaji Imoro said later the former DCE looked at his watch and said exactly 1600 hours the Abudus and Andanis would clash in Yendi. The witness said when they got to Tamale they wanted to see Prince Imoro Andani, former Northern Regional Minister at his office, but they were told he (Minister) had gone to Andy's lodge in Tamale. Alhaji Imoro said they drove to the lodge and met Prince Andani there and the former DCE briefed the former Northern Regional Minister about the situation in Yendi.

The witness said Prince Andani remarked that the situation in Yendi was a national security issue so there was the need for them to inform General Joshua Hamidu, who was then the National Security Adviser about it.

He said Prince Andani told the former DCE that he (Prince Andani) did not have the telephone number of General Hamidu, so the former DCE sent he (Alhaji Imoro) to bring his bag, which contained his diary from the car.

Alhaji Imoro said they called General Hamidu on phone and the former Northern Regional Minister and former DCE spoke to the General. The Prosecution witness said the former Northern Regional Minister and former DCE said that they could not go to the Gbewaa Palace because they were afraid of the insecurity in Yendi.

Alhaji Imoro said afterwards he told General Hamidu on phone that there was the need to rescue the Ya-Na.

The Prosecution said General Hamidu assured him that about 60 military personnel would be flown from Accra to Yendi or there would be a re-imposition of curfew in area. Alhaji Imoro said after he had spoken to General Hamidu he heard the former DCE and the former Regional Minister blaming each other for the situation in Yendi and why Prince Andani should lift the curfew in the area.

The Prosecution witness said that Prince Andani said that when he went to Yendi in connection with the situation in Yendi the Abudus mishandled him (Prince Andani) so the factions should be left alone to see who would become victorious.

Alhaji Imoro said that he appealed to the former Northern Regional Minister, who was then leaving for Accra, not to leave because of the situation in Yendi.

The Prosecution witness said that later in the afternoon while they were performing the ablution for prayers, he saw that both the former DCE and Usifu wearing locally manufactured bulletproof vest. Alhaji Imoro said that when they went back to the Office of Regional Coordinating Council they realised that the former Regional Minister had left for Accra and so they also left for Yendi. The Prosecution witness said that when they went to the Yendi Divisional Police they met the Commander of the Division one Adams, an official of the Bureau of National Investigator (BNI) and about 100 policemen with water-cannon equipment at the station. He said that the BNI official told them that the Abudus had besieged the Yendi Palace.

Alhaji Imoro said that later in the evening, they went to the military barracks and met a military officer, who was asked by the BNI official to rescue the Ya-Na with the armoured car but the military personnel said they were waiting for instructions from above. The prosecution witness said that he then realised that there was foul play in the whole crisis because the former DCE was not interested in the rescue of the Ya-Na but rather the safety of his family. Alhaji Imoro said he got home around midnight and because of the intensity of firing he took refuge in a school in Yendi. The Prosecution witness said on March 27, 2002, he saw that there was jubilation and in the town and realized that the Ya-Na has been killed.

Alhaji Imoro denied claims from the Defence Counsel that he was forced by the Andanis to come and testify against the former DCE because he (Alhaji Imoro) was close to him.

The Prosecution said that sometime in March 2002, the Ya-Na and some of his elders were killed following a clash between the two royal gates in Dagbon, the Abudus and Andanis. After the clash, Idrissu Gyamfo and Yidana Sugri were arrested and prosecuted for the alleged murder of the Ya-Na but they were acquitted and discharged.

The Government in a fresh attempt to find the murderers conducted a dawn swoop at Yendi during, in which 41 persons were rounded up. After screening them in Bimbilla, 33 were granted self-recognisance bail, while the rest were brought to Accra and subsequently others were arrested and were arraigned. The case has been adjourned to October 12, 2010.