By Nathaniel Y. Yankson
THE INSPECTOR General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah Quaye said the recent attacks and killing of police personnel by armed robbers operating in various locations in the country will continue because the gallant officers have become a thorn in their flesh.
According to him, the armed robbers feel offended by the manner in which the police carry out their professional mandate of protecting lives and property effectively.
However, he stressed that the inhumane killing of police personnel by armed robbers in recent times, was “an indication of an assurance of the strength of the police service and the fact that the police are doing what is expected of them without fear or favour.”
“When you have a situation where the institutions that have been mandated to protect lives and properties do their work very well, they are considered impediments on the part of those who want to commit crime. They would not like them, they would try to do the best they can to eliminate these boys,” the Police boss said.
Mr. Quaye was responding to some questions posed at the usual Meet-The-Press series held at the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday, and emphasized that “we see these things happening in films, so we thought it is far away from us, but now it is happening in our own backyard.”
The phenomenon, he continued, could best be addressed by re-strategizing, while considering it as an issue that ought to be dealt with all seriousness.
Official report released by the Ghana Police Administration recently suggested that two AK 47 assault rifles, a pistol, a bullet-proof vest and a pair of handcuffs were seized from five police personnel at Yikpen, a village near Sandema, in the Upper East Region.
Other bizarre attacks on police personnel include the one against three officers, namely Lance Corporal Osei Bonsu, General Constables Owusu Frimpong and Prince Agyare, who were purportedly molested by a notorious armed robber in Nakpanduri, in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District.
The alleged armed robber, Johnson Kombian, alias ‘Gakum’ and ‘Burger’ respectively, opened fire on the three police officers, who were riding motorcycles to their duty posts.
Described by the police as an ex-convict and dangerous to society, and having broken jail, Kombian shot one of the officers, Prince Agyare, who died on his way to the infirmary.
The two others, Frimpong and Bonsu were said to be in very critical conditions at the Nalerigu Baptist Medical Centre. Johnson Kombian has, however, been re-arrested and is facing trial currently.
After presenting reports of the various security agencies, including the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana National Fire Service among others, the Minister of the Interior, Martin Amidu, urged the media to collaborate effectively with the security agencies and the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms (GNACSA) to control the proliferation of illegal small arms in the country.
This, according to him, “is to ensure that the socio-economic development of the country is not disrupted by armed conflicts, robberies and other armed related crimes.”
He argued that even though people felt unsecured going about their daily duties in the country, it was illegal to resort to possessing guns for self protection.
Mr. Amidu subsequently called on the citizenry to repose confidence in the state security agencies, adding “If we all desire to possess guns illegally to protect ourselves, we shall only end up endangering our lives and our communities, as these same illegal guns may end up being used for inter-communal conflicts, homicides and revenge killings among others.”
To him, the ingredients for the development of the other sectors of the nation and for accelerated growth include peace, safety, security and stability, and that all must contribute their widow’s mite towards assisting the security agencies for Ghana’s development agenda to thrive.
The Minister further mentioned peace education, capacity building programmes, advocacy and third party intervention as some achievements of the National Peace Council. Touching on the crime statistics in the country, Mr. Amidu indicated that it showed an improvement over the previous year.
According to reports he had received, cases of narcotics and rape decreased by 43.9 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, while robbery incidents went down by 1.8 per cent in 2010. “Robbery statistics showed significant decreases in most regions, including Greater Accra (Accra and Tema) and Eastern Regions.”
However, the Ashanti, Northern and Upper West Regions, he added, recorded a high crime rate.
He said, street residential and workplace robberies decreased by 12.5 per cent, 15 per cent and 19.4 per cent respectively, while car snatching and highway robberies increased by 31.3 per cent and 9.3 per cent.