From William N-lanjerborr Jalulah, Bolgatanga
THE Upper East Regional Command of the Ghana Police Service has expressed concern over the lack of patrol vehicles to patrol major highways in the region. The situation, coupled with inadequate police personnel, is not only making the work of the few men extremely difficult, but also making it impossible to respond to distress calls promptly.
The Regional Public Relations Officer, Chief Inspector Thomas Agbanyo, raised the concern when briefing The Chronicle on the recent robbery attack on a private car and three commercial vehicles, in which a family lost a total of GH¢4,100 on the Bolga-Bawku road.
The robbery occurred last Sunday, when armed robbers, numbering four, attacked and robbed the occupants of a pick-up.
A certain Hamza and Jamal were robbed of GH¢2,400, while two out of the eight occupants were also robbed of GH¢1,000 and GH¢700 respectively, at a spot near the Tilli forest on the Bolga-Bawku road.
Passengers on two Mercedes 207 buses, and a Burkinabe-bound Marcopolo bus, were also robbed. The Marcopolo bus was traveling from Burkina Faso to Accra. Other personal belongings of the passengers were also taken away from them.
According to the Police PRO, since their patrol vehicle broke down, efforts to repair it have hit the rocks.
As if to aggravate the situation, Mr. Agbanyo said, about twenty police officers who were posted to the region had refused to report, and as a result, some miscreants had taken advantage of the Bawku conflict to commit all form of crimes.
He said even the officers who had served for long in the region, were now demanding transfers to other parts of the region, due to stress and the lack of logistics.
On the robbery, Chief Inspector Thomas Agbanyo said one David Anamiah, on Sunday, reported to the Zebilla police that he had received a phone call from his sister that she had been robbed with other passengers.
When the police later got to the scene of the robbery, Mr. Hamza informed the police that on reaching the Tilli forest, they saw four robbers, not masked, except one with a scarf, ordering them to stop, after which they also ordered them to lie down and surrender all their belongings.
One of the robbers was wielding an AK47 assault rifle and another with a locally-manufactured pistol, and the rest sharp knives.
While the occupants of the pick-up were being robbed, the other vehicles ran into the robbery scene, and their occupants also suffered the same fate.
When the police got to the scene and fired warning shots, the robbers also fired back, before bolting away with the money and other items they took from their victims.
Mr. Agbanyo said the police later arrested one person, who is currently helping them in their investigations.
He however, stated that the suspect told the police that he was returning from his girlfriend’s house in Zebilla, and had only stopped to receive a phone call when he was picked up.
The PRO indicated that when the police took the phone number of the man’s girlfriend and rang her, she confirmed that the man was her boyfriend who had just visited her.
Though the police believe the robbers have crossed into Burkina Faso, they were still holding the suspect to help them in their investigations at the time of filing this report.
Narrating what he witnessed, the Upper East Regional Organiser of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Yaw Mort, said he was also from Bawku that fateful day, and after passing through the police barrier near where the incident occurred, he sensed danger and rushed back to the barrier to inform the police.
According to him, the policemen on duty were helpless, because the only vehicle they had was faulty and could not move, so he had to pick them in his pick-up and rush them to the scene.
But, they arrived after the robbery had taken place.