21 arrested over riot at Akooko

•    The vandalised home of Nana Saka, the fetish priest. INSET: The queenmother of Akyem Akooko being taken away by the police.

• The vandalised home of Nana Saka, the fetish priest. INSET: The queenmother of Akyem Akooko being taken away by the police.

Twenty-one people, including the queen-mother of Akyem Akooko, Nana Afia Afrah Korantemaa II, have been arrested by the police, in connection with Tuesday’s clash in the town between the youth and supporters of a fetish priest in which two people died.

Among others arrested were the Dwantoatoahene, Kwesi Batse; Abusuapanyin Yaw Okyere, the newly-elected assembly member for the area; Yaw Bekoe, Afia Dede, a member of the Akooko Traditional Council, and a mobile phone recharge cards vendor, Debooke.

According to the Deputy Eastern Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) James Abass Abaa, two persons (names withheld) had been confirmed dead while three injured police officers, initially admitted to the Tafo Government Hospital, had been treated and discharged.

Akyem Akooko is now a complete ghost town as almost all the men have vacated the town leaving only a few women in their homes.

All shops were closed as at 11 a.m. when the Eastern Regional Minister, Antwi Boasiako Sekyere, accompanied by the Municipal Chief Executive, Peter Asirifi, and the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Atta Akyea, visited the place.

The chief of the town, Nana Barima Agyedua Pintanpan II, narrating the story, said the fetish priest last week Sunday, defied the rules of the town and blocked the main town road to perform rituals for his gods.

He said the traditional council met the fetish priest, and imposed a fine of GH¢20,000 and one cow on him which he promised to pay by Tuesday but refused to show up.

He said the youth, who were angered by the priest’s behaviour, organised a demonstration against him in the afternoon for disrespecting their traditional rulers.

Nana Pintanpan alleged that Nana Saka fired a gun at the crowd injuring a female before the police got to the scene.

The community members were said to have reacted by setting the fetish priest’s shrine and cars ablaze resulting in an exchange of fire with the police who tried to restore calm.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Eastern Regional Police Commander, ACP James Abass, said the fetish priest was under police protection while investigations were ongoing.

He said the police were determined to protect lives and property in the town.

“We are not here to intimidate anyone because disciplinary action would be taken against any personnel who violates the police Standard Operation Procedures (SOP)”.

The Regional Minister, Mr. Sekyere, for his part, cautioned the people against lawlessness and urged the police to investigate the incident thoroughly and prosecute all those found culpable.

From David Kodjo,Akyem Akooko

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