The Accra Regional Police Command yesterday detained a woman they suspected of attempting to burn down some stores at the Makola market.
The suspected arsonist, believed to be in her mid 30s who gave her name as Mother Ghana, was seen by security persons sprinkling what looked like kerosene on the stores around 2:00 am and was immediately apprehended and handed over to the police.
The suspected woman might be mentally unstable, according to eyewitnesses.
At least six markets suffered devastating fire outbreaks last year, including the Madina, Makola, Agbogbloshie, Kantamanto and Dome markets – all in Accra – as well as the Kumasi Central market.
Four suspected arsonists thought to be behind the fire outbreaks at major market centers in the country were arrested, according to Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed.
He told journalists on June 20, 2013 that investigations had confirmed that while some of the fires were accidental, others were deliberately caused by some arsonists, as President John Mahama suspected.
Properties worth thousands of Ghana cedis were destroyed as a result of the fire, with some victims yet to recover their losses.
Those arrested, according to the presidency, were undergoing trial.
Madam Margaret Kpodo, the Managing Director of Makola Market Limited, told DAILY GUIDE that suspect Mother Ghana, upon her arrest, shouted in Ga that she would burn down the market.
According to information, the private security personnel employed by the market authorities were surveying the area when they spotted the suspect holding a bottle containing the kerosene and sprinkling it on some of the stores.
Unconfirmed reports also indicated that the woman threw away the bottle containing the kerosene and something believed to be a matchbox, upon seeing the security personnel.
She was immediately nabbed and kept until daybreak before she was handed over to the police.
At the police station, DSP Freeman Tetteh, the Public Relations Officer in-charge of the Accra Regional Police Command, told DAILY GUIDE that the suspect only gave her name as Mother Ghana.
“Suspect behaves as if she was mentally deranged and so the police are yet to send her to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital to be examined before investigations will continue,” he said.
Some traders who also spoke to the paper believed the suspect was pretending to be mentally deranged.
The traders said no person was allowed into the market, after close of business and so they wondered how the suspect managed to beat the security personnel and had her way into the market.
By Linda Tenyah