Regional News of Friday, 1 February 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Police in Partisan Raid at Atiwa

Consistent police manhunt of the youth of Sankubaase in the Atiwa District of the Eastern Region who allegedly assaulted an assemblyman loyal to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has virtually turned the place into a ghost town.

Majority of the youth of the town have reportedly taken to sleeping in the Atiwa forest and environs in fear of victimization from the police. “The place has been under threat of mass arrest and fear and panic,” the chief of Sankubaase, Nana Asiedu Boafo II, told DAILY GUIDE yesterday.

Information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicates that the assembly man, Daniel Aperko, who claims he was assaulted by New Patriotic Party (NPP) youth on December 6, 2012, a day before the presidential and parliamentary elections, had given a list to the Atiwa District Police Command in Anyinam, ordering the arrest of the suspected assaulters.

Mr. Aperko is reported to have personally led police in the swoops conducted, claiming to wield all the powers because “his government” was in power.

Three people were arrested in the latest swoop carried out in the town yesterday and are languishing in cells at Anyinam with no charges.

Indeed, it is believed that the police were given the order for the snap swoops by the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Atiwa district, Emmanuel Atta-Twum.

According to Alex Asirifi, an NPP coordinator for Sankubaase who spoke to DAILY GUIDE via telephone yesterday, the whole unrest started when in November 2012, NPP signboards were demolished by some youth believed to be supporters of the ruling party.

On the eve of the general elections, Daniel Aperko was seen holding documents believed to be election materials. This aroused the suspicion of the youth in Amunum, a community close to Sankubaase, who grabbed him and tried to dispossess him of the materials.

The situation was said to have been brought under control, but not until after the assemblyman was reportedly thumped by the youth.

The subsequent actions of the assemblyman and the subsequent raids by the police gave room for speculations of political victimization.

For instance, after the alleged assault, Mr. Aperko reported the case at the district police command in Anyinam, 20 miles from Sankubaase and by-passed the Abomosu Police Station which had jurisdiction over the area.

“The district police command is 20 miles away; meanwhile Abomosu is just a maximum of 3 miles away,” Nana Asiedu Boafo told DAILY GUIDE in disbelief.

The Atiwa district crime officer, Chief Inspector Tanko, dismissed the politicization of the incident in Sankubaase, saying it was just a normal police work.

“It has nothing to do with elections; it was a criminal assault. They always want to relate these cases to elections,” Chief Inspector Tanko complained.

“The elections are over and we are doing our normal duty,” he said.

The Atiwa district is a hotbed for political activities with several records of election-related violence in past elections, particularly in the 2010 bye-election.