I heard gunshots

– Witness in Amina case

By Helena Selby

Amina leaving the courtroom with her face covered to avoid the cameras

A prosecution witness who was on board the controversial Yutong bus that Amina Mohammed claimed was attacked by gunmen, and the female occupants forced to have sex with their male counterparts, has confirmed in court that gunmen indeed, opened fire on the bus, but denied the allegation that the female passengers were subjected to forced sex.

Ahmed Buahene, an Ahmaddiya Muslim, told the court trying Amina for causing public fear and panic that he boarded the bus at the Neoplan Station at Circle in Accra, to Tamale.

He said because it was night, he slept soon after the bus took off, and that on their way he heard a sound ‘pow pow,’ which he thought initially to be a sound from the tyre of the bus, but was later told it was a gunshot which hit the windscreen of the bus.

According to him, after the incident there was no unusual occurrences on the way till he finally reached his destination.

He said some days after his arrival, he had a call from the police, questioning him about the attack which occurred on their journey, and was asked to come to Accra to testify in the case, since they wanted to know the truth behind it.

When he was questioned how the police got his mobile phone number, he noted that the ticket he was given to board the bus had a duplicate one, which the police might have used to trace his number.  He was emphatic that he could identify the ticket when he sees it.

During cross examination by the counsel for the accused, Mr. Appiah Kubi, the witness noted that he did not know the accused from anywhere, and did not also know anyone travelling on the bus.

The witness, who claimed he travels from the northern part of the country to the southern part at least four times a year, told the court that he did not have a specific transport company he travels with.

He further told the court he does not have any words to describe the incident that occurred, as he didn’t consider it an attack, but however, told his family on arrival, that the bus he travelled with was attacked by armed robbers.

He described the incident as armed robbery due to the gunshot involved, but could not tell the direction from which the gun was fired.

He mentioned that the driver drove for while, and later stopped at Kubease.

He noted that while they were at Kubease, two vehicles from Kumasi also stopped, but he did not know the reason for doing so.

According to him, after Kubease they stopped at another town which he did not know by name, and that it was at that place that he realised that the windscrren of the bus had been damaged, together with the number plate.

The witness further told the court that he just wanted to give witness in the case for the truth to come out, and that nobody had motivated him with money. According to him, he has been in Accra for about ten days now to give testimony in the case, and that the cost of his transport and feeding in Accra had all been borne by him.

The prosecutor has meanwhile, promised to provide an additional six witnesses to testify in the case, which continues today.

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.

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.

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