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General News of Friday, 31 January 2003

Source: The Insight/NewsInGhana

Traditional Curse Placed On President & His Family

The murder of the Overlord of Dagbon Tradition Area, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and 29 others in Northern Ghana seems to be causing the two-year-old New Patriotic Party administration a great deal of problems.

The area, which is still under curfew imposed some eight months ago, is yet to see peace. Not even the report of a Commission of enquiry into the conflict could bring the two Gates – Andani and Abudu, as one of the gates has rejected the commission’s report and the government white paper.

The NDC minority in Parliament has also sent signals to the government that it is no more going to co-operate as far the extension of the curfew in the area is concerned.

But perhaps the most disturbing development as far as the conflict is concerned, is a report carried by “The Insight” a local newspaper. The report says, “For those who believe in a mysticism, a letter sent to the president by the Dagbon Traditional Council ought not to be taken lying down.

They claim that the letter effectively places a traditional curse on the president and members of his immediate family.

The last paragraph of an 11-page letter reads, we plead with His Excellency President J.A. Kufuor to reverse the decision of the Government on the Wuaku commission Report and the Attorney General’s void White Paper on the report otherwise the memorable relations between him and the late Ya-Na will forever be a stain on him and members of his immediate family.”

The letter also described the findings and recommendations of the Wuaku Commission as being contrary to the principles of natural justice and commonsense.

“Rejection of the Wuaku Commission Report and the White paper on it by chiefs and People of Dagbon and the Andani Family of Dagbon.

It is indeed strange and incredible that the Wuaku Commission which described the events leading to the murder of the Ya-Na as “the three-day war’ came to a shocking conclusion that two people should be presumed the killers of the Ya-Na.”

With this conclusion of the Commission, the Andani family and Dagbon Traditional Council and good people of Dagbon have come to a conclusion that the Commission has not been able to identify the killers of the Ya-Na.

This conclusion of the Andani family and the Dagbon Traditional Council is based on two premises; first we are aware that there is no such thing as presumption in the offence of murder. A person can only be charged with the offence of murder if he/she intentionally and unlawfully kills another person. Therefore, to charge Yidana Sugri and Iddrisu Jahinfo as the presumed murderers of the Ya-Na will be an exercise in futility.

The exercise the Attorney General wants to undertake is similar to taking a sieve to the riverside to fetch water.

Secondly, after three days bombardment of Gbewaa Palace by members and supporters of the Abdulai family it is indeed incredulous for the commission to say that only two people should be presumed as the persons responsible for the end result – the murderers of the Ya-Na and probably the murderers of twenty-nine others who were killed alongside the king. If it is the wicked scheme of the Government to shield its party supports and then lays the criminal responsibility for these heinous crimes on the doorsteps of only two riffraff, then we will urge the Attorney General not to prosecute Yidana Sugri and Iddrisu Jahinfo.

The government should set them free so that the killers of the Ya-Na and the 29 others have not yet been found. We of the Andani family, who believe that Allah will soon expose the killers of the Ya-Na and the 29 other persons.

It is hoped against hope that the findings and recommendations of the Wuaku Commission and the government White Paper will help the process of reconciliation in Dagbon. It should indeed be clear to any casual observer that the findings and recommendations of the Wuaku Commission being contrary to the principles of natural justice and common sense will rather push the pail of reconciliation farther away.

We wish to make it clear to the Ghanaian public and the entire world that the government’s statement that it would punish whoever is found guilty by the Wuaku Commission is nothing but smoke screen calculated to throw dust into the eyes of members of the Andani family, the Ghanaian public and the international community.

The government and the Wuaku Commission planned together and made sure that evidence, which will identify the perpetrators of the heinous crimes, was not led at the commission.

A few examples will suffice:

    Since no member of the Commission was at the scene of the crime the only way to get evidence relating to the multiple murders, arson and other crimes was to call the staff of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Army, Police, Prison Service and Fire Service who were in Yendi during the three-day War.

    The Wuaku Commission refused to call any witness of the security services who could testify to the effect that he/she sawn anybody shooting a gun, arrow or even holding an offensive weapon in or around Gbewaa Palace the theatre of Wuaku’s so-called three-day war”.

    Mailiga Salifu saw some foreigners who were brought by the Abdulai family to participate in the execution of the heinous crimes. He led some officers of the Military Intelligence at the instance of the Brigadier In-Charge of the Northern Command to show the houses where those foreign criminals stay so that they will be arrested.

    These facts were put in statement to the Wuaku Commission. The commission also refused and neglected to call Mailiga Salifu to come before it and tell the world how government is hiding relevant information on the murder of the Ya-Na and 29 other persons.

    A Fulani man whose service were engaged by the Abdulai family in the commission of the heinous crimes at Yendi was arrested near Bole by some good Samaritans and brought to Regional CID Tamale. He made a confession statement to the police. The police took him on a number of occasions to Sunyani to give evidence to the Wuaku Commission. The Commission refused, failed, neglected to receive his evidence. When the Attorney General ordered the police and the community tribunal, Tamale to set free Yidana Sugri and Mohammed Baba who were soon after the murder of the Ya-Na arrested by members of the Andani family at Tamale, the police immediately set the Fulani man free.

    They having realized that the government or the Attorney General and the Wuaku Commission were not interested in holding in custody any person who has relevant, particularly critical evidence, on the heinous crimes committed at Yendi.

    The Fulani man who is a foreigner from La Cote d’Ivoire happily left for his country after being freed.

    One prospective witness Abukari Binchere who had evidence on the involvement of Aliu Mahama (vice-president) gave a statement to the Wuaku Commission. He traveled to Sunyani many times to give evidence. The Commission refused, failed, neglected to call him to give evidence.

    One prospective witness, Osman presented a statement relating to the involvement of AminuAmadu and Major Abubakari Sulemana and another person in the heinous crimes at Yendi to the Wuaku Commission. The Commission refused, failed, neglected to call him to give evidence.

    First of all, we are outraged at the contempt with which government has all along treated Dagbon custom and traditions. The White Paper refers to Mahamadu Abdulai as Bolin Lana when in actual fact he is not. It is the Kuga Naa who confers such titles, and to the best of our knowledge, he has not conferred such a title on any one. It is also on record that the said Mahamadu Abdulai told the Wuaku Commission very explicitly that he was not a chief, and certainly not the Bolin Lana. Why then should the government insist on referring to him as such?

    This self-styled Bolin Lana is also not a political authority, yet it came to light at the Commission’s sitting that it was he who requested the District Chief Executive to impose the curfew on Yendi prior to the assault on the Gbewaa Palace, and the DCE acceded to the request.

    The government would recall that we had earlier disclosed in our documents that it was in the house of this self-styled Bolin Lana that the assailants from the Abudu gate launched the assault on the Gbewaa Palace.

    He claimed at the Wuaku Commission that he gave orders for his people to push the Andanis back. For three consecutive days, this self-styled Bolin Lana was the hub around which the conspiracy and murders were organised. It was also disclosed at the Wuaku Commission that the murderers of the Ya-Na mounted the severed head of the Ya-Na and took it to the house of this self-styled Bolin Lana where he sat in state and received it. It was there that a victory parade was organised amidst singing, drumming and dancing.

    The nation and the whole world were informed by members of the Andani family, the print media and the pathologist who gave evidence at the Wuaku Commission that the head and arm of the Ya-Na were severed by his murderers. The severed head was taken to the self-styled Bolin Lana’s house (the house described by Wuaku Commission as the head of the Abdulai family in Yendi).

    The head was given to a former Zalinko Lana Iddi Iddrisu who was sitting in front of the Bolin Lana; Iddi Iddrisu made some incantations and put the head in front of Bolin Lana. He later gave the head back to Iddrisu Jahinfo. This was at a gathering of may people. It is incredulous that the head of the Abdulai family in Yendi; the self-styled Bolin Lana to whose house the head was taken and presented to his elder sitting before him has been exonerated by the Wuaku Commission and the government.

    The exoneration of such a man makes a tragic mockery of a government, which claims that it has a “scrupulous respect for the rule of law and due process.” It is indeed a travesty of justice if the ringleader of the rebellion, Bolin Lana is not culpable but riffraff aiding their leader are held responsible for the gruesome murder of the Ya-Na.

    The severed head in the possession of Iddrisu Jahinfo and former Zalinko Lana and so-called Bolin Lana is alleged to have found its way back to the palace where it was decapitated from the neck of the Ya-Na seven days after the decapitation. Nobody saw the head “walking” or “flying” to that place. But from the day of decapitation up to the seventh day when the head as found “sitting” or lying exactly where it had been severed from the body of the Ya-Na, soldiers and police were on guard duty 24 hours.

    Further curfew had been placed from 6.00 pm to during the seven days. The severed arm in the possession of Yidana Sugri who danced with the arm in the company of many members of the Abdulai family on the 27th of March also strangely “traveled” to or “flew” to where it had been severed from the body of the Ya-Na. It also “walked”, “traveled” or “flew” to Gbewaa Palace and lay side by side with the head of the Ya-Na.

    No soldier or policeman on guard duties for the 24-hours saw the arm “coming” or “flying” to that place during the hours of broad ay light.

    The government wants us the Andani family, the good people of Ghana and the international community to believe this fantastic fable. The government ands the security agencies certainly know how the head of the Ya-Na got to Gbewaa Palace. They also know where they spent the seven days and with whom they spent the seven days and who took the head and the arm back to Gbewaa Palace.

    The culpability of the government, the then Minister for the Interior, the District Chief Executive for Yendi, the police, army personnel in the mysterious journey of the arm and head of the Ya-Na to Gbewaa Palace cannot be doubted.

    The Wuaku Commission which was appointed to faithfully and impartially inquire into the circumstances of and to establish the facts in the heinous crimes committed at Yendi never called any witness nor asked anybody any questions concerning the mysterious return of the Ya-Na’s head and arm to Gbewaa Palace. Why should a retired Supreme Court Judge and a University Professor fail to find this primary and important fact?