The Accra Regional Police Command yesterday arrested six suspected armed robbers after a fire combat that left one policeman and two armed robbers dead.
The suspected armed robbers, with ages ranging between 21 and 28, were said to have exchanged fire with the police as the robbers hit a snag under hot pursuit near Weija at midnight last Tuesday.
As a result, Constable Prince Akata was said to have been hit by a bullet below the waist level, while gangsters Ampomah and Duodu also fell to the fire power of the police.
Four members of the suspected armed robbers, however, managed to escape arrest, but the police believe they sustained gunshot wounds and have urged the public to be on the lookout for such suspects.
Those arrested are Isaac Mensah, 28; Kwesi Bentum, 28; Kwame Anokye, 24; Amos Boitey Borketey, 21; Yaw Richard, 22, and Sylvester Otwe, 28.
Hundreds of people thronged the premises and adjoining streets of the Accra Regional Police Headquarters, eager to catch a glimpse of the suspected armed robbers who were paraded for the lenses of media cameras.
Constable Akata, 31, left behind a wife without a child, but he goes home as a gallant policeman who died in the line of duty.
In recognition of his valour, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, has, with immediate effect, promoted Constable Akata posthumously to the rank of Corporal and he will be buried with the full benefits of that rank.
Details of incident
Briefing journalists yesterday, the Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr Christian Tetteh Yohunu, said police intelligence indicated that the suspected armed robbers were based in Akim Oda and nearby areas and normally grouped at Ashaiman to launch their operations.
He said the police had information that they were on their way to attack a location near the new shopping mall at Weija last Tuesday night.
Mr Yohunu said the suspected armed robbers were using a Nissan taxi, a Ford vehicle and a KIA truck for what appeared to be a well-planned and coordinated operation.
The taxi, he said, moved as a forerunner to recce the road and make sure that there was no police presence, with the robbers attacking and escaping in the Ford vehicle, while the KIA truck carted the booty to safety.
“Because they were using this Ford vehicle which could move very fast, they sped off and the police chased them,” the commander said.
He said eventually, the armed robbers ran into a ditch, and realising that the police would catch up with them, they opened fire with what was believed to be an AK47 rifle, an SMG and other high velocity weapons, while the police too returned the fire.
Mr Yohunu said Constable Akata was rushed to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital after he had been hit by a bullet, but he died, perhaps due to excessive bleeding.
“We didn’t give up. Even though one of the policemen died in the course of the shootout, we still pursued them and we got six of them arrested. Four others escaped with bullet wounds.
“So we are advising the medical centres to quickly inform the police about anybody who goes there to treat any wound of that nature for us to pick those suspects,” he said.
Mr Yohunu said police intelligence indicated that the suspected armed robbers had been involved in many robberies, including the Madina Melcom robbery in which a security man was killed.
He said they also confessed to having attacked a cocoa shed at a location near Oda in which one person was killed, as well as locations at East Legon, Tema and many other places.
He said after committing the offences, the suspected armed robbers retreated to villages near Oda and hid for a while before hitting town again for more attacks.
In a related development, Mr Alhassan visited the Accra Regional Police Headquarters to solidarise with his men and encourage them to continue with their good work.
“Our visit here is to break the ice and continue to encourage our men to continue to perform their duties with full commitment,” he said.
He commended the public for their partnership that led to the arrest of the suspects and assured them of the full commitment of the police to protect lives and property.
Mr Alhassan also visited the deceased policeman’s wife, Mrs Belinda Akata, at her residence in Accra to commiserate with her and the family.