2 die in police, armed robbers gun battle

A gun battle between the police and a notorious gang of armed robbers in Bolgatanga, Upper East regional capital, has left two members of the gang dead and one police officer severely injured.

A number of weapons including an AK 47 assault rifle with 12 rounds of ammunition, a locally manufactured pistol and five cartridges were retrieved from the armed robbers.

According to the Upper East Regional Police Command, the gang was the same group who shot a police officer four times last week on the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Highway. Thereafter, they reportedly terrorised several communities, particularly in Bolgatanga, and escaped arrests a couple of times even when the police had closed in on them.

But they ran out of luck when a police squad launched a dawn raid Sunday on their hideouts at Soe-Yipala, a suburb of the regional capital. Briefing the media Monday, the Upper East Regional Police Commander, DCOP Simon Afeku, said the police team was compelled to open fire on the robbers after their raid met an armed resistance from the group, leading to the death of two of the suspects.

“I can say for sure that these gentlemen are very deadly. Police, well prepared, proceeded because we have heard of them; we have heard of what they are capable of doing. They are deadly. We prepared, went to their abode with the view of arresting them to be put before the law. But police encountered fire, first from them, injuring one police corporal in the process. We tried to demobilise them.

“They received some gunshot wounds as well. There was a shootout at their abode between the police and them. Two of them, namely Rasta and Baba, were conveyed to the hospital and pronounced dead upon reaching the hospital. The third person, upon hearing of what had happened, was trying to spy on the police. He was identified and arrested. That is Patrick Ayine, alias Aluta. He is currently in police custody,” DCOP Afeku explained.

Whilst announcing that the surviving suspect would be paraded for public identification anytime soon, the Regional Commander also appealed to the public to assist the police in their own interest by exposing criminals. The commander further disclosed that there had been a bench warrant on Ayine’s head for bail jumping and that the slain Rasta, until he moved recently to Bolgatanga, used to belong to another dreaded gang in the Ashanti region. The injured police officer, who got shot in the leg during the raid, has undergone a surgery and is reportedly responding to treatment.

Meanwhile, reports of the killing of the two notorious armed robbers have sparked jubilation in Bolgatanga, with residents showering praises on the police for the job done.
“If the police can do more, it would help. Now that they have killed two people, certainly the rest will coil back. It has brought a relief,” one resident (name withheld for security reasons) told Starr News.

Another resident said: “Now the police are doing well. We know they are on top of their job. We appreciate what they are doing. They should promote them.”