The Accra Regional Police has arrested 14 persons following a clash between two factions at the Gbese Mantse’s palace at James Town in the Greater Accra Region, leading to the death of one person. The clash followed a dispute during the performance of traditional rites towards the celebration of this year’s Homowo festival of the people of Ga Mashie.
When the Daily Graphic visited the scene yesterday, some witnesses, including traders and passers-by, said they only saw armed men emerging from the Gbese Mantse’s palace at about 9 a.m.
The men who were alleged to be wielding pistols and pump action guns, started shooting into a crowd at the Gbese Wulomo’s palace which is about 500 metres away from the Gbese Mantse’s palace, the witnesses claimed.
According to them, the deceased, a male, was allegedly shot at by the supposed attackers. Seven others sustained injuries.
The timely intervention of the police, saved the situation from escalating.
Briefing the Daily Graphic, the Operations Commander of the Accra Regional Police Command, Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr Kwasi Ofori, who led a team of police officers from the Counter Terrorism and Formed Police Unit to restore calm, said 14 persons suspected to be involved in the incident had been picked up.
The deceased, he said, was yet to be identified but the injured persons had all been taken to the Police Hospital for treatment.
He noted that the Counter Terrorism and Formed Police Unit patrol teams who had been stationed at James Town responded to the incident timeously and managed to bring the situation under control.
Later, a reinforcement team made up of 80 policemen who were then at Osu to avert a similar conflict, were quickly moved in to restore calm.
The police have since intensified patrols in the area while targeted operations on suspects are ongoing.
Mr Ofori also indicated that the Gbese Mantse, Nii Ayi Bonte, and the Gbese Wulomo, Numo Ayittey Kwabla, have both been summoned by the Greater Accra Regional Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr George Alex Mensah.
When contacted, the Gbese Mantse said it was unfortunate that some of his followers had taken the law into their own hands.
He stated that he was ready to cooperate with the police to hand over anyone involved in the incident no matter the divide they belonged to.
Meanwhile the police were able to prevent a brewing tension at Osu, where some traditional leaders were performing pre-Homowo traditional rites at a shrine located within the castle.
Two opposing groups of the Osu stool clashed over the misunderstanding. There were no fatalities among members of the groups except that, a policeman sustained gunshot wounds in the ensuing disturbances. The victim’s name was not given.