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General News of Friday, 7 April 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Surrender - Kennedy Agyapong condemns Delta Force rioters

The maverick Assin Central Member of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Agyapong, who had earlier defended the riotous activities of the Delta Force, a political vigilante group aligned to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has made a U-turn and condemned the group.

In a disclaimer on Thursday night on Oman FM’s Boiling Point programme, which was monitored by Graphic Online, Mr Agyapong admitted that the action of Delta Force in storming the court on Thursday to free accused persons was “disgraceful”.

Some members of the group stormed the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) Circuit Court to free 13 of their colleagues who had been arraigned for forcibly throwing the Ashanti Regional National Security Liaison Officer out of office last month.

Graphic Online's Donald Ato Dapatem and Joseph Kyei-Boateng reported that they ‘invaded’ the court shortly after the presiding judge, Mrs Mary Nsenkyire, had remanded the 13 into prison custody to reappear on April 20, 2017.

Immediately word went out that the 13 had been remanded, some supporters of the accused who were outside the courtroom attempted to find their way into the courtroom but they were prevented from doing so by the police.

In the ensuing melee, the 13 who had been remanded left the courtroom, joined those outside to leave the court premises, claiming that they were going to the NPP Ashanti Regional headquarters.

The four charges preferred against the suspects were conspiracy to commit crime, assault on a public officer, causing unlawful damage and common purpose to prevent a public officer from performing his duty.

Agyapong's earlier threats

When it first emerged that there were plans to arrest members of the vigilante group who masterminded the attack on the security coordinator, the vociferous Mr Agyapong warned government and Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, the national security minister, not to dare arrest the “boys”.

The Delta Force members had brutally attacked the Ashanti Regional security coordinator, Mr George Agyei, and thrown him out of his office, provoking outrage among members of the public and calls for their arrest.

Mr Agyapong threatened to embark on demonstration if members of the Delta Force, who he said helped the NPP win power, were arrested by law enforcement agencies.

"Anyone should dare and put any of the Delta Force guys on trial. I would personally lead demonstrations against the NPP and Kan Dapaah. Nana Addo didn’t win easily; we fought and these boys were at the war front when they were fighting,” he said.

Condemnation

But speaking Thursday night on Oman FM Mr Agyapong asked the boys to surrender to the police.

He condemned them and said they have “destroyed” the goodwill he initially had for them.

“They have gone overboard, they cannot take the law into their hands, I am not going to support them again,” he said.

“I am appealing to them to surrender and go and do their time on remand in prison custody. I am a truthful person and don’t tolerate nonsense, I’m not going to support them again. This is a jail break which cannot be condoned in the government of Nana Akufo-Addo who is law abiding.”

Meanwhile, eight members of the group who had allegedly aided the 13 accused persons to escape have been arrested.

The eight suspects, whose names were not given, are behind bars in Kumasi, while a bench warrant has been issued for the apprehension of the 13 who escaped from the court.

Background

On March 14, 2017 some members of the Delta Force stormed the office of the Ashanti Regional National Security Liaison Officer, Mr George Adjei, and threw him out of the office.

They claimed that Mr Adjei was not part of those who had worked in the trenches in the region for the NPP to secure a resounding victory and, therefore, he could not be made the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator.

Armed policemen intervened and rescued Mr Adjei amid threats from the members of the Delta Force.

The next day, the leader of the group, Kwadwo Fosu Bamba, was arrested in Kumasi.

Two days later, Awal Sadat Abubakar was also nailed by the police in Kumasi.

However, Abubakar Sidiq Abdul Hameed, Jamil Issah and Hamza Mohammed reported to the Ashanti Regional Police.

The members of the Delta Force arrested in Accra were Salu Issakah, 33; Akwasi Owusu, 34; Kwabena Owusu, 46; Kofi Kyei, 40; Agya Boadu, 46; Salu Yussif, 35; Yussif Salu, 32, and Kwaku Awotwe, 40.

All 13 were granted bail and put before court on Thursday.

According to Dapatem and Kyei-Boateng, after their charges were read to them at the court on Thursday, counsel for the accused persons, Mr Matthew Appiah, prayed the court to grant his clients self-enquiry bail because all of them were on bail and had been reporting themselves to the police.

He added that they were residents of Kumasi and were married persons who were ready to co-operate with the police at all times for investigations into the matter.

Unfortunately for counsel, the court, said that all the 13 be remanded into prison custody.

Immediately word went out that the 13 had been remanded, some supporters of the accused who were outside the courtroom attempted to find their way into the courtroom but they were prevented from doing so by the police.

While the police were making efforts to prevent them from moving into the courtroom, the 13 left the courtroom and joined those outside to leave the court premises, claiming that they were going to the NPP Ashanti Regional headquarters.

Security

The few policemen at the court had to channel their strength and attention to protect and whisk the judge away to safety.

The 13 accused persons and their supporters then walked majestically free from the court and took to the streets, ostensibly towards the regional headquarters of the NPP at to complain to party officials about what had happened to them.

Police

Minutes after the 13 and their supporters had bolted, armed policemen in six Nissan pick-ups arrived on the court premises.

Speaking on Ash FM, a radio station in Kumasi, minutes after they had left the court, one of the 13, who gave his name only as Sadat, said they were surprised at the decision of the judge to remand them as though they were common criminals. He stated that they would not go to any police station and added that they would also not work for the NPP again.