The Maamobi suburb of Accra was Saturday night turned into an arena when an angry mob turned their spleens on a local restaurant, Marwako, setting it alight alongside three vehicles.
The situation was triggered when the Lebanese owner of the restaurant offered sanctuary to an escaping policeman, who had allegedly shot a cabbie and was being pursued by the angry youth for a reprisal attack.
By the time the police restored calm, the place had been set on fire, with a number of vehicles vandalized, including a Toyota Landcruiser Prado with registration number GN 1635-14.
A number of theories have been put forth by eyewitnesses; one of which has it that the cabbie was receiving a call when a police patrol ordered him to stop, but he continued to drive and one of the policemen shot at his tyre; but before the car could stop, he had fired another shot, this time hitting the driver.
The taxi driver was taken for dead but it turned out later that he survived the shooting and was rushed to the 37 Military Hospital from where he was later moved to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
When the youth in the area heard what had happened after concluding that the cabbie had died from the shot, they charged on the cop, who was allegedly being kept by the Marwako owner.
He is said to have fled into the Maamobi branch of the restaurant chain – something which attracted the anger of the dozens of the youth who questioned why the gentleman would not release the cop to them for an instant justice.
The youth began vandalizing the restaurant, which many of them patronize anyway, especially in the evenings.
A police patrol team managed to quell the riotous situation but not for long.
Discovering that the police had left, the youth, with their number increased, descended upon the restaurant once more, this time setting the place alight.
A police reinforcement turned up at the scene this time more prepared to contain the situation – which they did – but not before properties worth thousands of cedis, had been destroyed.
According to a policeman, stones were thrown at them by the rampaging mob, so they had to go back for reinforcement.
He said when they returned, teargas was fired into the mob to disperse the angry youth again.
While the destruction was going on, others were looting whatever they could lay their hands on.
As for the policeman, after receiving sound beating from his aggressors, he was whisked away in a police vehicle to an unknown destination, shaken by what he had witnessed and his near brush with death.
No arrests had been made as at press time yesterday, and details of the cabbie on admission were yet to be released by the Nima Police – who are said to have commenced investigations into the riot.
By A.R. Gomda
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