Crime & Punishment of Monday, 12 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Tumu police nab Ayariga trailers

The Tumu police last Saturday night arrested four suspected armed robbers who trailed the convoy of the presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr. Hassan Ayariga.

The four, who were using a Mitsubishi Pajero vehicle with registration number GR 8849 R, had in their vehicle a fully loaded pump action gun and 10 cartridges.

Other items found in the car were, two screw drivers, GH¢1,170 cash, dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp, pictures, a Ghanaian passport belonging to one of the suspects, six mobile phones, a laptop and bank leaflets.

The suspects, who are currently in the custody of the police, have been identified as Bawimuah Dajan, Sambo Fulani, Akwasi Mensah and Paul Michael.

The incident happened at about 9 p.m. near the Kanton Senior High School on the road leading to Bolgatanga when Mr Ayariga and his family were relocating to another hotel after arriving from Accra.

In the PNC’s flag bearer’s vehicle, which was closely followed by the suspects’ vehicle, were his wife, Anita, mother-in-law and his two children, who have been on the campaign trail in northern Ghana.

Ahead of the flag bearer’s vehicle was a PNC-branded pick-up conveying the Vice-Chairman of the party, David Niibi.

The Tumu District Police Commander, ASP Douglas Asaana Awumbila, who confirmed the arrests, said the police were on duty when they received a distressed call that armed robbers were trailing the flag bearer of the PNC.

Police personnel, he said, were quickly dispatched to keep surveillance after which the suspects were picked up at a drinking spot.

Preliminary investigations, he said, showed that three of the suspects – Mensah, Dajan and Michael – came from Accra to join Sambo to carry out the exercise.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Awumbila said upon a search in the vehicle the gun and the other items were found.

Sniper Aikins, one of the drivers of the PNC flag bearer, told the Daily Graphic that shortly after Mr Ayariga was relocating to another hotel off the Bolgatanga road, the suspects followed up thinking he was on his way to Bolgatanga for them to attack.

He said he was alerted by someone in the previously booked hotel to follow up in the convoy of the flag bearer, since a vehicle suspected to be carrying the robbers were following the flag bearer’s convoy.

“As soon as I set off I decided to put the siren in my vehicle on.

Their vehicle was at top speed immediately following Mr. Ayariga’s and as soon as they heard the siren they did a swift u-turn thinking it was the police following them.

“After turning and realizing it was a PNC-branded vehicle they got angry and questioned why I should use a siren when I was not a policeman. After that I saw them returning to the direction the convoy came from,” he said.

Mr. Aikins said it was then that the police were alerted and a search was mounted for them.

He said the police search party spotted the vehicle parked at a bar with the suspects drinking but were arrested after they swiftly moved into their vehicle to escape arrest by the approaching police team. Their vehicle was then taken to the Tumu Police Station where the search revealed the gun and the other items.

For his part, Mr. Iddrisu Malcom Forsyth, driver of Mr. Ayariga’s vehicle, said the suspects were sitting at the lobby of the hotel previously booked for Mr Ayariga.

One of the suspects, Dajan, told the Daily Graphic that they were neither trailing Mr Ayariga nor were they armed robbers.

He said he was a businessman, and that he used the gun to protect himself.

Reacting to the issue, Mr. Ayariga said it was divine intervention that saved him and his family.

He said although he was supposed to be allocated four police personnel, he did not understand why up to date those personnel had not been sent.

“This is through God’s intervention and I think God is on our side,” he said.