Controversy is raging about the arrest of a suspect in last Tuesday’s armed robbery at the Fumesua branch of the Juaben Rural Bank, following the insistence of the Ashanti Regional chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), that the suspect did not take part in the violent attack.
Mr Yaw Obimpeh, who claimed he knew the suspect, Abdulai Midjima, described his (Midjima) arrest as a travesty of justice and is, therefore, calling for his immediate release from police custody.
However, the police who said they found the suspect with the pistol used in the crime, said it would be unprofessional to release him now, particularly when they were still investigating the case.
Last Tuesday, a group of five suspected armed robbers attacked the Juaben Rural Bank at Fumesua near Ejisu at about 10 a.m, making away with unspecified amount of cash.
They sped off in a saloon car after the attack but the police chased and shot one of them to death while one of them – later identified as Midjima — was arrested with the rest escaping into the bush with the cash.
A day later, one of the runaway suspects was also shot dead by the police in an uncompleted building at Duase in Kumasi.
Midjima’s arrest has, however, infuriated the NDC regional chairman who says he has known the suspect over a long period of time and is not a thief.
Mr Obimpeh told the police that the suspect was chasing the fleeing robbers when the police mistook him to be one of the robbers.
The police were, however, keeping the suspect as of yesterday, to enable them to scrutinise the various accounts given about him in connection with the robbery.
The head of Public Affairs at the Ashanti Regional Police Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Yusif Mohammed Tanko, told the Daily Graphic that in one of the accounts before them, Midjima was said to be the one who was leading the Hyundai vehicle as they fled the crime scene.
In another account, Midjima was said to have mounted a motorbike to help chase the suspects after a chief in the area informed him of the armed robbery attack.
“We have spoken with the chief in question and he confirmed the story,” ASP Tanko said
Besides, the police spokesman said the suspect himself claimed the pistol used in the robbery, which was found on him, was abandoned at the crime scene when the robbers were fleeing.
“All these conflicting statements demand that we delve deep into the matter,” ASP Tanko insisted.
He stated that last Wednesday, the police organised an identification exercise for the bank officials but none of them was able to identify the suspect.
“We are going further with the identification exercise by inviting other people who were at the bank during the attack.”
At the press briefing at the regional police headquarters last Tuesday, the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Augustine Gyening, said Midjima denied being part of the gang explaining that he only picked the pistol used by the robbers from the ground while they were running away.
However, he later told the police that he knew where the run-away robbers hid the cash taken from the bank but when they went to the place nothing was found.