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Police Take To Their Heels In Chereponi
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Four persons have been shot while more than a dozen sustained multiple wounds resulting from stone-throwing of irate persons believed to be members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the run-up to tomorrow’s bye-election at Chereponi in the Northern Region.

It was alleged that Thomas Kwesi Nasah, the NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Gushegu, opened fire on the unprovoked members of New Patriotic Party (NPP) while supporters of his party kept throwing stones at the opponent. Three of those shot were currently in critical condition and had been transferred to the Yendi Government hospital while the rest were treated and discharged at the Chereponi hospital.

The fatalities had heightened tensions in the entire Chereponi constituency as fear gripped residents. Policemen on guard were reported to have taken to their heels and deserted their duty posts immediately gunshots were heard on the main rally grounds. Investigations conducted by the Daily Guide newspaper revealed that the decision by the NDC to hold another rally after the one addressed by the vice-president, John Dramani Mahama on Saturday, was believed to have sparked the violence leading to the shooting.

Both parties had agreed to hold their respective rallies on separate days, which were duly sanctioned by the Northern Regional Police Command. The NPP, in accordance with the Public Order Act, indicated in writing that they intended to perform the final funeral rites of the late MP after which they would hold a mammoth rally to round up their campaign.

The Yendi Divisional Police Command, in reply, a copy of which is in possession of Daily Guide, granted September 27, 2007 for the NPP functions in the area since their counterparts were to hold theirs a day before. After crowning their rally which many observers say was a poor show, the NDC announced another rally the next day at a venue close to the entrance of the residence of the NPP candidate. The leadership of the NPP objected to the new arrangements and questioned the rational but the police in their response said it was an order from their superiors to provide security to both. Nana Ohene Ntow, NPP General Secretary, told Daily Guide that the police should b eheld responsible for any reprisal that might arise as a result of the duplicating event.

Not even had he finished raising these concerns than reports reached him that there was a brawl at one the venues over who should be allowed to hold a rally there. The rancour resulted in the breaking of a number of plastic chairs, canopies and other items belonging to both parties, further charging the atmosphere in the area. It took the timely intervention of some bold security personnel to calm some nerves but angry Dan Kweku Botwe challenged the police personnel, irrespective of the pressure from above, to ensure that the right procedures were followed.

The current turmoil reigning in the constituency, was a far cry from what the Northern Regional Police Commander, ACP Awuni Angwubotoge had promised after disclosing that a thousand armed police men had been deployed to the area. The police boss said he was determined to avert any bloodshed and rancour in the area and cautioned contesting political parties to operate within the laws of the country. But just a day to the election, elements of violence were beginning to descend on Chereponi, giving room to questions over the protection of voters.
Source: D. Guide

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