CAGED! Martin Atinga Awagra
A soldier, Martin Atinga Awagra, who was dismissed recently from the Ghana Armed Forces, has joined forces with robbery gangs in the Ashanti Region, terrorizing residents and business people.
He has been put before a Bekwai circuit court after he was arrested in a GHȼ30,000 gold robbery operation at Anyaaso near Asiwa in the Bosome-Freho District.
Martin Atinga Awagra, a resident of Tafo Mile Four in Kumasi, was remanded into prison custody when he appeared before the court on Monday after pleading not guilty to charges of robbery, illegal possession of fire arms and kidnapping.
He is expected back in court on March 8, 2016 to answer four counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, kidnapping and possessing firearm and ammunition without lawful authority.
The dismissed soldier, weilding G3 rifle, attacked and robbed some small-scale miners at a section of the Anyuruso and Anyaaso road near Asiwa, the district capital, on February 11, 2016 at about 4:30 pm with his gang.
Police prosecutor, Detective Inspector Stephen Ofori informed the court that other members of the dismissed soldier’s robbery gang were one Ernest, Aboagye and Yaw who had been at large since the arrest of Martin.
According to him, all the accused persons are residents of Tafo Mile Four, a suburb of Kumasi, whilst the complainants are residents of Konongo, the Asante-Akyem North district capital.
The prosecutor said on February 11, 2016 at about 4:30 pm, the complainants, who were in their private Ford pickup with registration number GN 3999 – 12 heading towards home, were attacked by the dismissed soldier and his gang of three at a section of the road between Anyuruso and Anyaaso.
Detective Inspector Ofori told the court presided over by Fredrick Nawura that Martin and his men managed to dispossess the victims of a GHȼ30, 000 worth of gold ore weighing 30 kilograms and the pickup vehicle at gunpoint.
He said the dismissed soldier was in possession of G3 rifle, while his gang members were wielding SMA rifle and ammunitions when they emerged from the bush to launch the attack.
The police prosecutor disclosed that the suspects bundled the victims into the rear of the cabin pickup and pointed the guns at their heads and drove them away with Ernest behind the wheels and the dismissed soldier seated beside him at the front passenger’s seat.
Inspector Ofori said some mourners had occupied the road when the vehicle reached Anyaaso, a situation which compelled the accused person behind the steering wheel to slow down.
At this moment, the prosecutor intimated that a struggle ensued between the complainants and the accused persons as one of the complainants held the muzzle of the dismissed soldier’s gun and managed to pull the hand break of the vehicle.
He narrated that the gun began to discharge during which one of the ammunitions ricocheted and hit a young girl.
The development drew attention of the mourners who rushed to the scene to assist the complainants apprehend the suspects.
The three gang members sensing danger fled into the bush leaving behind their master, the dismissed soldier who was attacked by the mob, the police prosecutor indicated.
They retrieved a G3 rifle with number CIFT 12-11244 and SMA rifle numbered K14619 loaded with 44 live ammunitions.
The mobsters later handed over Martin Atinga Awagra to the police at Asiwa who sent him to Bekwai Municipal Hospital for treatment but he was admitted.
Inspector Ofori said the accused person was discharged from the hospital on February 19 and was charged with the offences and subsequently arraigned before the court.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Bekwai