Driver of Yuton bus in the dock

Ivy Benson

Amina Mohammed

The full trial, yesterday, commenced on Amina Mohammed, who is at the center of an allegation of a mass rape incident on a Yutong bus bound for Bolgatanga, with state prosecutors placing the driver of the said bus in the dock to give evidence on the case.

Mr. Samuel Aseidu Sasu, driver of the Yutong bus with registration number GN 263 10, whose hand is in plaster of Paris (POP) as a result of an accident he apparently sustained on one of his journeys, told an Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Mrs. Patient Mills-Tetteh, that his vehicle was shot at by unknown gunmen along the Kubeasi road in the Ejisu Municipality.

Giving his evidence-in-chief led by Mr. Paul Asibi Abariga, State Attorney, Mr. Sasu noted that on October 11, 2010, he loaded passengers from Accra, behind the Neoplan Station, and headed for Bawku in the Upper East Region.

According to the witness, he set off from the station around 10:00 p.m., and on arriving at a place around the Kubeasi Customs barrier, he could see logs blocking the road.

Mr. Sasu told the court that ahead of him was a cargo truck, which hit the logs and sped off, adding that upon hearing a gunshot, he sensed danger, and also hit the logs on the right side of the road.

Witness indicated that at that instance, unidentified armed men shot at his vehicle damaging the windscreen, but he managed to escape from the assailants, but stopped when they got to the Kubeasi township, where the cargo truck ahead of his vehicle stopped and signaled on-coming vehicles of the presence of armed robbers along the way.

Witness further noted that he stopped his vehicle for a while in the Kubeasi township to remove a log that had stuck under the bus, after which he continued his journey and made a stopover at the Ejisu police station to lodge a complaint on the armed attack on the bus.

According to the driver of the Yutong bus, who said he did not know Amina Mohammed, except seeing her at the police headquarters where he made his second complaint, the police officer at the Ejisu police station gave him a police report, and asked whether they could continue their journey that night, to which he responded in the affirmative.

Witness then told the court that the passengers boarded the bus and continued with their journey, but made a stopover at Kintampo at dawn for the passengers to have some respite, adding that they continued the journey from Kintampo until passengers alighted at Tamale and Bolgatanga.

Amina, the 24-year-old hairdresser, was granted bail by the Human Rights Court after the circuit court refused her bail.

She is standing trial on two counts – causing panic and fear, as well as deceit of public officer. She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against her.

The prosecution witness, Mr. Sasu, further indicated that those who were going to Bawku were given some money to continue their journey, as he returned with the bus, which was again loaded at Tamale to Accra.

According to him, before he set off from Tamale to Accra, he called a photographer to take picture of the damaged windscreen and bumper of the bus, further noting that on getting to Accra, he informed his boss about the incident, after which the bus was repaired.

He told the court that he started work after two weeks, and while in Tamale, received a call from someone, who claimed to be speaking from the Police Headquarters.

Mr. Sasu indicated that the person interrogated him on the October 11, 2010 incident, and further invited him to the Police Headquarters to make his statement, which he did.

When it was time for cross-examination from the defense team, led by Mr. Andy Appiah Kubi, he (Kubi) gave an excuse that he would not be able to complete the examination, since he needed to get copies of police statements the witness made to the Ejisu police and the Police Headquarters.

This infuriated the state prosecutor, who informed the court that he had brought two other witnesses, ready to continue with the case without delay, adding that the defense counsel could have conducted his examination, since the evidence provided in court was straight forward.

However, Mr. Appiah Kubi told the court that his action was help conduct an effective and judicious trial of the case before the court.

The court was therefore, adjourned to today, November 23, 2010, at the instance of the defense team.

It is the case of the State Attorney, Paul Abariga, that on Oct 26, 2010, on Adom FM, a private radio station in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, Amina Mohammed went on the airwaves alleging that while travelling with her mother and three children on a Yutong bus with registration number GN 263-10 to the North, the bus was attacked by armed robbers on the highway, during which the robbers forced the men on the bus at gunpoint to rape the female passengers.

The accused person, who resides in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, further alleged that a father was forced to rape his 14-year-old daughter, adding that the passengers were robbed of their belongings, and that the males on board the bus were forced by the armed robbers to have sex with the female passengers.

The prosecution noted that following the narration on the airwaves, several radio stations picked up the issue, which led to causing extensive fear and panic among the people.

The prosecution also told the court that on Oct 12, 2010, the driver of the Yutong bus lodged a complaint at the Ejisu police station, that his bus containing 47 passengers was attacked by armed robbers at Kubease in the Ejisu Municipality, but denied that any mass rape of the passengers took place.

The prosecution noted that it was the statement of the driver that en route to Bolgatanga, he encountered a scenario where armed robbers had blocked the road with logs, but managed to drive through and escaped an armed attack on the bus, which resulted in damage to the windscreen of the vehicle.

The driver was said to have gone to the Ejisu Police Station to report the incident.
He spent 30 minutes at the station, and left for his destination.

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