K’si traders clash with police

TWO people were injured from stray bullets when the police clashed with some traders operating at the Kumasi Race Course, in the late hours of Monday.

The two were named as Mohammed Aminu and Abanga Awili, who were also arrested, together with Kwame Kwakye and Osman Iddrisu for allegedly leading an attack on the police.

Police personnel from the SWAT Unit had gone to the Race Course to ensure peace during the demolition of structures on a site under dispute.

But, the police were said to have turned the heat on the traders, beating them, amid the firing of warning shots during which the two traders were hit by bullets.

The atmosphere was charged as the traders were said to have allegedly attempted to set ablaze an excavator working on the site, after smashing its windscreen.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mohammed Yusif Tanko, head of the Regional Police Public Affairs Unit, defended the police personnel’s action, saying “we acted on the decision of the Ashanti Regional Security Council.”

ASP Tanko claimed that the traders charged on the people claiming ownership of the site, and were not deterred by even the warning shots.

He said, “The police fired a warning shot toward the ground and a stone flew and hit the two victims.”

Following the re-construction of the $298million Kejetia Lorry Terminal – Central Market project, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, gave a 12-acre land at the Race Course to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) for the traders.

But, according to the Public Relations Officer of the KMA, Okumah Nyame, the site in question was not part of the offer from the Asantehene.

He indicated that one of the factions went to the site with police protection to demolish some structures, stressing “that portion is outside the one the Asantehene gave us for the traders”.

Barely a month, the KMA fenced the Kejetia terminal for work to begin.

But, the traders rejected the KMA’s ejection plan for fear of not getting back their lots after the completion of the project and since there had been petty squabbles between traders and KMA.

From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi

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