Agbogbloshie Violence: The Inside Story

The communal violence that erupted at the Konkomba Market in Agbogbloshie, a market community in Accra, on Tuesday, this week, was not triggered by a mobile phone theft, as the police would have Ghanaians believe.

Insiders familiar with the implosion that has claimed at least two lives and left scores injured with machete wounds give the actual chronology of events as having started with the theft of a gas cylinder.

A thieving associate of a prominent member of the ruling New Patriotic Party’s Tamale-based goon squad, Kandahar Boys, known as “Bullet,” is said to have triggered the murderous chain reactions when he stole a gas cylinder belonging to a Konkomba man.

Unfortunately for him, upon the theft, he had been arrested by members of the Konkomba community and subjected to mob action before the cylinder had been retrieved from him.

This associate of “Bullet,” is said to have then moved on after beatings at the hands of the Konkombas, to organize Dagomba collaborators of his for a reprisal attack at the Konkomba market, thus triggering the violent sequence of events that has constrained National Security to deploy a combined team of army and police officers on the ground to enforce peace.

Bullet, the NPP’s Kandahar Boys’ goon squad member, was in police custody as at the time of going to press yesterday.

In addition to participating in the mayhem, he is said to have brought down the friend who had stolen the cylinder, from Tamale to Accra, to live with him at Agbogbloshie.

Sources say “Bullet” had brought this friend of his, whose name is not immediately known, down to Accra, in anticipation of recruitment into National Security, following the NPP’s victory at the polls in December, last year.

On the night of Monday, April 10, this associate of Bullet is said to have been caught red handed around the Konkomba market area, with a stolen cylinder belonging to a Konkomba man.

A mob of Konkombas took the cylinder from him and dispensed mob justice by way of beatings. Eventually however, he was left to go his way.

It is said that, a few minutes after the alleged thief had been left to go, however, the Konkombas were treated to a surprise attack when a group of Dagombas stormed the Konkomba base at Agbogbloshie and vandalized property, including yams for sale and a provision store.

That attack then triggered a reprisal, with the Konkombas storming the Dagomba base of Agbogbloshie, a park near the Korlebu mortuary, with intent to attack.

Fortunately, however, our source said, none of the people who had attacked the Konkombas was seen around at the time.

Even so, the Konkomba group had also destroyed property there, including an office belonging to the Old Fadama Association, a loose association of some 18 tribes in the Agbogbloshie community.

The destruction of the office had apparently been carried out because the current chairman of the association is an NPP activist called Abdulai Alhassan.

The next day, Tuesday morning, the Dagombas had organized themselves and stormed the Konkomba base in response to the previous night’s attack.

Sources say the Dagomba mob had come along with weapons, including guns and machetes, and had mostly been led by known NPP fanatics.

Among others, one Salisu, who was said to be brandishing an AK 47 rifle, was named, with yet another Salisu, an amputee NPP fanatic, also named as having come with the attackers with a rifle. Others brandished machetes and other offensive weapons.

The clash with the Konkombas led to many sustaining machete wounds, while two people, a man and one pregnant woman, died on the spot. Another pregnant woman who had sustained serious injuries had been rushed to the Korlebu Teaching Hospital.

When the attention of the police was called, an initial reaction was to dispatch a small team to the area to quell the conflagration, but reports indicate that that initial team had been overwhelmed by the conflict in which bullets flew about, while machetes chopped flesh.

The police then called for reinforcement, while detonating tear gas that sent some of the assailants and other people around, fleeing for cover.

Eventually, National Security deployed a joint team of military and police officers to enforce order, even as the police rushed to town to tell journalists that the trouble had started with the theft of a mobile phone.

Sources familiar with the real chronology of events confirmed that it was started with the theft of a cylinder belonging to a Konkomba man by a Dagomba man known to be an associate of Bullet, a popular activist of the ruling NPP.

“Bullet,” who is said to be a member of the NPP’s Northern Region based goon squad, Kandahar Boys, was said to be in police custody as at the time of going to press yesterday.



Source: Fiifi Samuels

The Republic News Online

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