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General News
Gunshots At Akwatia 8/18/2009

Human blood was freely spilled all over Akwatia township in the Eastern Region yesterday when rampaging National Democratic Congress (NDC) youth unleashed terror on supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), beating and maiming a number of them, and preventing them from going on a scheduled keep-fit walk in the morning.
In an attempt to bring the situation under control, unconfirmed reports said two young boys died from tear-gas suffocation. The situation was so bloody that a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on the constituency capital and its environs as at press time yesterday.
The situation was compounded by the police and military as they indiscriminately fired several volleys of rubber and live bullets at any gathering.
Several NPP activists, including Nana Ohene Ntow, National General-Secretary, and National Chairman, Mac Manu bled profusely from injuries inflicted on them.
Another activist, Kwesi Korang, a.k.a. KK, was also stabbed at the back of his neck and palms.
Nana Ntow was punched several times in the face by the rampaging NDC youth, forcing blood to gush from his nose uncontrollably.
Meanwhile, the driver of Hon. Dan Botwe, MP for Okere Constituency and former General Secretary, was hospitalized as a result of a large cement block thrown at his car.
The driver, whose name DAILY GUIDE gathered as Mr. Baah, was in coma at the St. Dominic Hospital at Akwatia as at the time of going to bed.
The vehicle of NPP National Chairman, Mr. Peter Mac Manu, was also smashed, while dozens of NPP activists were also hospitalized due to various degrees of injury.
According to eyewitness accounts, the NPP had planned a keep-fit march early in the morning but just as they had gathered to set off, they were attacked by a group suspected to be NDC youth.
It took the military to bring a little bit of sanity as the police reportedly claimed they had not been instructed to arrest or control violence. When eventually the order came for the police to act, things got out of hand.
As early as 6.00am yesterday, sympathizers of the ruling NDC had massed up right in front of the party’s constituency office just by the main road. Wielding all sorts of weapons, they mounted a roadblock, searching all in-coming vehicles and beating all people with NPP paraphernalia.
In the case of Nana Ntow, who arrived at the NDC roadblock from Accra at about 9.00am in his Nissan Navara pick-up with registration number GN 4660 Z, the political thugs, upon identifying him, smashed his car, and pulled him out through the broken glass while one of them hit his nose with a cement block.
The NPP scribe called on some policemen nearby for help but it appeared there was little they could do as the ruling party boys had a field day.
Narrating his ordeal, Ohene Ntow said he was driving into the Akwatia township to help the NPP''s campaign when he encountered a barrier mounted by NDC supporters, with hundreds of policemen around.
“When I saw the police, I thought everything must be under control. I stopped at the barrier and the next thing I see is the door of my car had been forced open and someone hit me right in the nose. Right now, as I speak to you I am just bleeding all over my face.”
He said people were banging on his car, while the policemen present just watched unconcerned. He has since made a report of assault to the Police.
“I had to get out of my car and scream at the police before one person stepped forward to try and push back the crowd. For me, that is a big shame for policing in this country today,” he regretted.
Later in the day, a planned NPP rally in the town was also dispersed by the police with tear-gas and rubber bullets. Interestingly, the NDC was allowed to hold their final rally the previous day.
In a telephone interview, the NPP National Organizer, Lord Commey, described the state of affairs as a war situation resembling Afghanistan, saying it appeared organized.
It would be recalled that results for the December 7, 2008 parliamentary elections in the Akwatia constituency could not be released due to a disruption of the electoral process by some political thugs. This led to a series of legal battles from Koforidua to Accra until the Supreme Court gave its final ruling on the matter some 10 days ago.
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Dr. Kofi Asare, was ahead of the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) Baba Jamal with over 3,000 votes.
Even though the NDC contended that results in several other areas were over and above the total number of voters, the EC rejected the claims, saying they were baseless.
Subsequently the Electoral Commission (EC) fixed 18th August 2009 for a re-run of elections in the six affected polling stations.
The polling stations are Presby JSS, Akwatia (E113502); Yoruba Mosque-A, Akwatia (E113701A); Yoruba Mosque-B, Akwatia (E113701B); Lorry Station-A, Akwatia (E113801A); Lorry Station-B, Akwatia (E113801B); and A.M.E. Zion Church-A, Akwatia (E113802A).

From Thomas Fosu, Akwatia

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