Residents of Accra New Town, a suburb of Accra, where three suspected armed robbers were shot dead last Friday, have denied reports that the three engaged in a gun battle with a police patrol team from the Accra Regional Police Command.
The residents, including traders near the spot where the incident happened, have hinted that the report which occupied the front pages of most newspapers on Monday and made headline news on radio and television was not the whole truth.
The claims of the residents came to light after DAILY GUIDE received phone calls from two people who claimed to have witnessed the incident when it occurred on Friday night.
One of the anonymous callers had lamented over the killing of the alleged suspects and said that they could have been arrested and prosecuted instead of being gunned down.
‘This is murder and it must be investigated by the police authorities to bring the perpetrators to book. I am not in the position to know if they are armed robbers but what I can say for a fact is that they did not engage in a shoot out with the police as reported,’ he said and bemoaned, ‘This can happen to any innocent citizen.’
In a follow-up visit to the scene of the incident and subsequent interview with residents of a house with a drinking spot where the incident happened, residents told DAILY GUIDE that what happened that night was entirely different from what was reported.
The residents who pleaded anonymity noted that the three men were not riding unregistered motorbikes as reported since they drove past the front of the Pathodos Spot in a four-wheel drive Infinity with a DVLA number plate.
A young man who said he witnessed the incident stated that four young men who identified themselves as police officers of Serial Eco Unit had earlier informed them of an impending operation which they intended to undertake in front of the drinking spot.
They then ordered tilapia and banku and some drinks from the spot.
About half an hour later, he narrated that a grey coloured Infinity four-wheel-drive pulled up and while one of the police officers ordered patrons of the spot to move into the house, two others walked towards the car while the last one shouted at the top of his voice announcing to residents not to come out of their houses.
He said immediately the four-wheel-drive car parked up with the indicator and parking lights still on, the two police officers pulled out their guns and shot the occupants who were three in number.
Another man who said his shop was close by said he run into the inner part of his shop immediately he heard the gunshots and the announcement by a man for everybody to stay indoors. He noted that there were no gunshot exchanges as was reported.
Though he said he stayed in the shop until there was calm, he only heard some warning gunshots which the police officers fired into the air.
The eye-witness noted that after a few minutes he heard police siren signalling arrival of the police while the police officers continued to fire gunshots into the air.
Later, he said he learnt that the men were notorious armed robbers who had been released from the Nsawam Prison two weeks earlier and had started their nefarious activities again so the police wanted to eliminate them from society for security reasons.
DAILY GUIDE was told that the Pathodus Spot is mostly busy on Friday nights and that there was a full house when the incident happened.
The Police are meanwhile said to be investigating the incident.
On Monday April 15, 2013, DAILY GUIDE and other media houses reported that three suspected armed robbers were killed in a gun battle with a police patrol team from the Accra Regional Police Command at Newtown near Kotobabi, in Accra, on Friday evening.
The story said the armed robbers who were using unregistered motorbikes and allegedly wielding three fully loaded pistols were said to have attacked a drinking spot near Newtown when the police were called to the scene.
Two foreign pistols, one locally made pistol, two unregistered motorbikes, 10 cartridges out of which three had been used and six 9-milimetre ammunitions were found on them after police managed to overpower them.
One of the armed robber who had a tattoo of the words ‘wo suro wundi’ together with a handcuff on his left arm identified as ‘Biggy’, the gang leader, was said to be part of another gang that broke into the vehicle of Albert Kan Dapaah at Tesano last year and robbed him after the former Member of Parliament had parked his vehicle in front of a supermarket to purchase some items.
Briefing the media last Saturday, the Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Christian Tetteh Yohuno, said police recently intensified patrols at Kotobabi, Dzorwulu, North Kaneshie and Newtown due to the recent robberies recorded in these areas.
Last Friday around 9:25pm while police patrol team from the Accra Regional Police Command were moving towards Dzorwulu from Kotobabi, it received a distress call that three men using two unregistered motorbikes had attacked a drinking spot at Newtown.
Upon seeing the police, the three armed robbers opened fire while attempting to escape.
Police returned fire at the suspected robbers who were hit by the bullets.
However, the police had earlier justified the killing of the three suspected armed robbers saying the men were shot and killed upon a tip-off.
Denying the allegations of the residents on Joy News, Accra Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Freeman Tettey said, ‘They attempted to rob; we got there and they turned their fire on us so we have to reply fire-to-fire.
Because we had a stronger fire power we were able to overcome them and in the process they were shot dead’.
The Police Intelligence and Professional Standard Unit (PIPS) is investigating the matter.
He explained that ‘the rule of engagement is that at every point in time you don’t have to exchange your life for them (armed robbers)’.
‘We always want them alive but in case we can’t, we have no choice but to do the obvious,’ he said.
A Daily Guide Report