19 Granted bail in Kwabenya Police Station case

Author: Emelia Enin Abbey
DCOP Mr George Mensah, Accra Regional Police Commander
DCOP Mr George Mensah, Accra Regional Police Commander

Nineteen persons out of the 78 picked up in a police swoop following the attack on the Atomic Hills Police Station, at Kwabenya in Accra, have been granted police enquiry bail while the search for the fugitives continues.

The 78 suspects including two women were arrested from suspected criminal dens in Dome, Agbogbloshi, the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange area, Madina cemetery and Kwabenya.

The police found suspected narcotic substances on four of them.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr George Mensah said the remaining 59 suspects were still being interrogated by the police.

At dawn last Sunday, about six gunmen facilitated the escape of seven inmates, including a Nigerian and six Ghanaians in the custody of the Kwabenya Police in Accra.

In the process of freeing the inmates, the gunmen shot a policeman on monitoring duties, Inspector Emmanuel Ashilevi. He died later at the 37 Military Hospital, in Accra, while receiving medical attention.

The seven inmates and the six gunmen are currently on the run and are being hunted by the police.

The police have identified the escapees as Dickson Ofori, Chubuzor Akwabu, Edwin Rockson, Emmanuel Kotey, Prince Osei, Kofi Darko and Atta Kwadwo, aged between 20 and 34 years.

Information gathered from police sources indicate that seven other inmates who did not escape during the jail break have since been transferred to the Madina Police Station.

The Kwabenya District Police Headquarters was cordoned off but has since been opened to the public.

Shooting

According to the Regional Police Commander, the gun men are suspected to have parked their motor bikes at the Kwabenya roundabout, which is about 300 meters from the Kwabenya Police Station after which they walked to the police station.

He said three of the gunmen who had concealed their weapons walked to the counter pretending they wanted to lodge a complaint.

When the non-commissioned officer at the counter (counter NCO) politely requested how he could assist them, one of the men allegedly pulled out a pistol and ordered him to hand over the cell keys.

At that point, Mr Ashilevi who is said to have been sitting in his car as he was going round the various police stations in the district as the monitoring police officer got out of his car to find out what was happening.

Unknown to Mr Ashilevi, three of the attackers had been stationed outside the police station and one of them is said to have marched him to the counter.

When Ashilevi who was in a mufti shirt and a police uniform trousers attempted to prevent the gun men from pursuing their agenda of freing the inmates they shot him in the right buttocks at close range.

The autopsy had since been carried out on the body of Ashilevi at the Police Hospital in Accra.

Apart from Mr Ashilevi, six unarmed police men including the counter NCO, a station officer, two officers of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD)  and an officer of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) were on duty.

The only armed policeman was the guard duty officer but the Accra Regional Police Command said the police could have engaged the attackers as the attack was in a flash.

“Normally police men are not armed at the police station. It is only the guard on duty officer who is armed. We are only armed when going on armed battle like land guard duties. This situation took them by surprise,” said Mr Mensah.

Police security

He said as part of the plans to ensure the safety of all police men on duty, the command is considering assessing all police stations to ensure the right security measures were in place.

“We are thinking through it. I think it is about time to look at the police station to make it safe for personnel. Where the police station is not safe we will ask the community to support us with a better police facility or we will relocate it. We need to be safe to ensure we can protect citizens,” he stated.

Additionally, Mr Mensah said the police administration is considering the modernisation of police stations including fixing of CCTV cameras at all police stations.