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Fallout from bloody NDC meeting in Kumasi... Police quiz Yammin, Yamoah-Ponko

BY: Kwame Asare Boadu
 DCOP Kwasi Mensah Duku  — Ashanti Regional Police Commander
DCOP Kwasi Mensah Duku — Ashanti Regional Police Commander

Two leading members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Ashanti Region, Messrs Joseph Yammin and Kwaku Afrifa Yamoah-Ponko, were yesterday interrogated by the Ashanti Regional Police Command in connection with the bloody attack at the party’s regional office in Kumasi last Monday.

A highly placed police source told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the two NDC kingpins were questioned by the police following reports the command received that they knew something about the attack.

There were also reports that the two could be keeping items in their homes, which could be vital to the investigation by the police into the bloody incident in which one person was shot dead and another critically wounded.

The arrests

According to the source, Mr Yamoah-Ponko, a former Municipal Chief Executive for Ejisu-Juaben, was picked up from his house.

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The house was also searched but the police said no incriminating evidence was found.

According to the source, he was later released, It said Mr Yammin, a former Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, handed himself over to the police yesterday afternoon, in the company of his lawyer.

“We have reports that Yammin and Yamoah-Ponko knew something about the attack and, therefore, we needed to interrogate them.

“We picked up Yamoah-Ponko from his house, but all attempts to locate Yammin proved futile until he reported himself to the police later in the afternoon,” it said.

Mr Yammin, who is also a former Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, had his caution statement taken and later the police escorted him to his house for a search, after which he was sent back to the regional police headquarters.

As of press time yesterday the police were yet to take a decision on granting him bail.

‘I was not arrested’

After his release, Mr Yamoah-Ponko said he was not arrested. reports Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor in Kumasi

“This morning around 9 a.m., two cars loaded with policemen came to my house and told me that the regional police commander wanted to see me. I asked them to take the lead, assuring them that I would come later, but they insisted on going with me,” he told the media yesterday.

He said he did not argue with them but just changed his attire and followed them to the regional police headquarters.

However, he said, before that, the police wanted to search his house.

“I inquired from them if they had a search warrant. They could not produce one but I allowed them to search the house and they did not see even a mosquito,” he explained.

According to him, he and the commander had fruitful discussions and his statement was taken.

“I have not been arrested, not been charged for anything and I am not on any bail,” he stated.

According to Mr Yamoah-Ponko, he had to assist the police to get Mr Yammin to the police station because when policemen were deployed to his (Yammin’s) house to invite him, he was not at home.

Suspects at large

As of press time yesterday, the four persons suspected to have masterminded the attack were still at large and the police were making efforts to arrest them.

The police have declared them wanted and are doing everything to apprehend then to face the law.

They are Husein Barnabas, alias Warrior, believed to be the one who pulled the trigger. The others are Damos, Mijima and Abu Taliban.

Government statement

Meanwhile, the government has condemned the shooting incident and urged the police to speed up investigations into it.

A statement signed by the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said: “The government expresses condolences to the bereaved family, wishes the injured speedy recovery and urges the police to speed up investigations to bring the perpetrators to book.”

It spoke against violence in all forms and urged the people to abhor it.

“Government reiterates that violence should be eschewed from all spheres of our national life. Citizens and groups are further encouraged to desist from actions that create a state of insecurity in our nation,” the statement said.

Background

On Monday, a meeting at the Ashanti Regional Office of the NDC turned bloody when some unidentified men suspected to be members of the Hawks, a pro-NDC vigilante group, opened fire on members of the Regional Task Force.

One person who has been identified as Wassis Idris, a 30-year-old scrap dealer and member of the task force, was shot and killed, while another person, Abdul Rahman, received gunshot wounds.

After the shooting, the hit squad fled on motorbikes.