Teshie rioters remanded in custody (Saturday, June 22, 2013) (Page 24)

SEVEN suspects arrested during Thursday’s clashes at Teshie in Accra were today remanded in police custody by the Osu Magistrate Court to reappear on July 2, 2013.

They were charged with conspiracy to commit crime and rioting.

They are Eric Narh, 25; Baba Talatu, 25; Ismailla Nii Annor, 45, and Nii Armah Ogidi, 35. The names of  three others were not immediately known at the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, calm has returned to Teshie, a fishing community in Accra, a day after violent clashes led to the death of one person and the injury of three others during the installation of a chief.

Patrol teams have pitched camp at the palaces of the disputing factions in the 29-year-old protracted chieftaincy dispute.

Each of three gates — the Trebi We, the Ashitey We and the Okpong We — is claiming the right to install a chief for the community.

During the incident, which occurred at dawn on Thursday, one of the claimants to the stool—the Trebi We — had attempted to install a chief, but a bloody confrontation spearheaded by land guards allegedly hired by the Trebi We turned the event on its head.

As early as 5.30 a.m. or thereabouts on Thursday, the group, numbering about 100, was said to have stormed the Teshie Palace to assist the Trebi We to install their chief.

Teshie has been without a chief since 1984 when Nii Akonfra, the then chief, died. Since then, the three gates have not agreed on the late chief’s successor.

The dispute has thus created a leadership vacuum in the town which, according to some sources, provided the opportunity for the Trebi We, who are said to be a group of settlers claiming to be one of the gates to the stool, to provide a candidate to occupy the empty stool.

Yesterday, residents went about their businesses in the densely populated town known for its fishing prowess and football heroes.

During Thursday’s incident, school activities were brought to a halt as teachers, pupils and students took to their heels to escape the bloody clash that engulfed the community.

Yesterday, all private schools in the town remained closed, but school authorities said the incident coincided with mid-term holidays which began yesterday and would end on Monday.

At the King David Preparatory School, which was one of the centres of the commotion, school activities were nil.

The Director of the school, Mr David Ashai, said the school would reopen on Monday and assured parents that “there is peace; there is no fear, and all parents should bring their children. We’ll provide security in case of any eventuality”.

Mr Ashai, a member of the Trebi We, who was accused of being a financier of the installation of a retired Naval Captain, one Ashitey, denied the allegations, saying, “I didn’t even know they were doing anything there. It is just hatred. We must stop this pull-him-down behaviour. It is the reason Teshie is not progressing.”

At Teshie Manjor, the nerve centre of the clashes, debris from the incident had been cleared, but residents still had some issues to discuss as they congregated in groups.

A worried resident, Madam Agnes Ameley, said the protracted dispute was creating a bad image for Teshie.
“We are not sure what will happen again, so we are being careful about cooking food for sale. I don’t even know what difference the chiefs will make in our lives,” she said as she dipped her hand into a basket full of fish.

She made an appeal to the government to do everything possible to deal with the security situation, adding that “although the police are here to protect us, we feel intimidated by all the guns around”.

Not far away from Madam Ameley’s kenkey and fish joint, the Striking Force Unit has maintained a heavy presence in front of the Nii Ablorh Adjei We with an armoured car and four patrol vehicles.

While some of the policemen were seen patrolling the town, others stood akimbo at the entrance of the palace.

The Head of the security team, Inspector Martin K. Asare, told the Daily Graphic, “Our mission is to ensure that total peace returns to the area. We will be here until our commanders ask us to pull out.”

He said the police were keeping a 24-hour watch over the area to ensure that peace was not breached.

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