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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 21 November 2019


60-year-old blacksmith arrested for allegedly possessing weapons granted bail

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A Tamale circuit court presided over by Justice William Twumasi has granted bail to a 60-year-old blacksmith, Mahamadu Fuseini, one of two suspects arrested in Karaga in connection with manufacturing firearms.

The other accused person, Mohammed Suraju has been remanded in prison custody.

The two were charged for unlawful possession of firearms without lawful authority.

The Judge based on the age of Mahamadu Fuseini granted him bail with a condition of three sureties and GHS150,000 to be justified.

The lawyer for the two accused persons, Halid Abdul Rauf failed to secure bail for the second accused.

He argued that the timing of the arrest coincided with the Damba Festival which is celebrated with the firing of musketry and that it is possible these blacksmiths were tasked to produce single barrel guns for the celebration.

He thus prayed the court to grant the two accused persons bail while investigations continue but the court declined his plea on grounds that Mohammed Suraju who is youthful could jump bail.

“This was a blacksmith who was tasked by people to fix their muskets for them three days to the Damba festival. He was arrested by a combined team from the military, police and customs for possession of single barrel gun. We told the court that, they are people with a permanent place of abode. And looking at their situation, they are not capable of standing on the way of the investigation so they will always make themselves available to the sanctuary. All the weapons showed in court were single barrel guns that are used by the warriors during festivities.”

The arrest of the accused persons followed a joint military, police and customs operation conducted in four districts in the Northern and North East regions.

According to the prosecution, the police retrieved 32 locally manufactured long barrel guns, one locally manufactured pistol, 83 metal pipes and tools including, three hacksaw blades, two hammers, three G-clamps, three iron files and one grinding machine, three bags of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp, four pairs of scissors, four pairs of slippers, two cutlasses, three mobile phones and an amount of GHS 18.60 during a search conducted in the accused persons rooms.

Meanwhile, the court has adjourned the case to December 2, 2019.

In a related development, two persons who were also charged for unlawful possession of narcotics have been granted bail.

The two were arrested in the same security operation.

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