3 suspected kidnappers of 2 Canadian women accuse BNI of torture
Three out of the eight persons arrested in connection with the kidnapping of two Canadian women in the Ashanti Region, yesterday accused the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) of subjecting them to physical and mental torture.
The accused and six others were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping of Bailey Jordan Chitty and Lauren Patricia Catherine Tilley, who were in Ghana for an exchange programme.
Sampson Aghalor, the alleged kingpin, also known as Romeo, Yusif Abubakar, and Seidu Abubakar, corroborated to the court presided by Justice George Buadi the inhuman treatment meted out to them in BNI cells.
Seidu, said to be diabetic, told the court he sustained injury on his back and because of that he could not attend to natures call for the past two weeks.
But, upon further inspection of the injury by the court, the judge said he could not see visible lacerations or marks on the back of Seidu.
His alleged conspirator, Aghalor, who apologised to the victims and their families, the governments of Ghana and Nigeria for the shame his action brought to the two countries, said he was tortured and compelled to write a statement.
He said that he played a role in kidnapping of the Canadians, and urged the court to remand him in prison custody so that he could receive visitors.
Yussif affirmed the narrations of his accomplices and accused the police of pouring hot water on him at the time of his arrest.
Mrs Hilda Craig, Senior State Attorney, prosecuting, contended that the claims of torture and abuse by the accused were fabricated to make the BNI look bad.
She opposed the request to remand accused in prison custody and asked the court for two weeks adjournment to enable prosecution complete investigation.
Meanwhile, the court has issued warrant for the arrest of one Mohammed and Derry of Kumasi, who were currently on the run.
The prosecutor said the pictures of the suspects would be published in the dailies and on social media.
Counsel for Seidu, Mr Andrew Codjoe Vortia, wanted to make an oral bail application for his client, but the court asked him to file a formal application.
Aghalor, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar, all Nigerians, Yusif, Abdul Nasir and Seidu also known as Nba – Ghanaians, were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
Aghalor, Ojiyorwe, Omarsar and Yakubu, were separately charged with kidnapping.
On June 18, 2019, Abdul Rahman Sulemana, the owner of the car that was used for the operation, and Safianu Abubakar were arraigned.
Mrs Craig told the court that Aghalor struck an acquaintance with Yakubu in March, 2019, and that Aghalor went to Nigeria and recruited Ojiyorwe and Omarsar to be part of the gang.
Mrs Craig told the court that the two, charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, were arrested because Safianu is a close associate of one of the accused.
The court heard that the kidnappers smeared the faces of the victims, Chitty and Tilley with blood, ostensibly to create the impression that the women were badly tortured.
The court heard that on June 4, 2019, the gang kidnapped the two Canadian women after accosting them from a hostel in Nhyiaeso, a suburb of Kumasi.
The gang took the two women to an uncompleted building at Kenyasi Krobo.
On June 11, a National Security team, led by Colonel Michael Opoku, arrested Yusif, who later led them to arrest the gang.
Upon their arrest, the accused mentioned Nasir and Abubakari as part of the gang.
The two Canadian women were rescued after eight days of intensive search by the Ashanti Regional Police Command in collaboration with other security operatives.
Tilly, 19, Chitty, 20, were kidnapped on June 4, 2019, moments after they alighted from an Uber cab, at their apartment at Silver Spring in Kumasi, at about 8:20pm, but they were rescued at Akorem in Sawaba, in Kumasi, and the vehicle used to kidnap them, was retrieved at Achiase, near Sawaba.
The case has been adjourned to July 15.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA