Operation Father Christmas: Police Round Up 32 In Swoop

Thirty-two people were arrested in a police operation to search for those who allegedly shot dead a 53-year-old security guard of the Melcom branch at Madina in Accra last Tuesday. In a four-hour operation yesterday, policemen and women, some in plain clothes, arrested the suspects from crime dens and crime-prone areas such as the Madina Market, Nkulenu, Melcom, Ayamba Market, Jamaica and the La Nkwantanan areas. The suspects, aged between 18 and 30, were arrested between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. for various offences including stealing, riding unregistered motorbikes, possessing dried leaves suspected to be Indian Hemp and gambling. Items retrieved from them included two gambling machines, an Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) high tension wire, a makeshift container used as a brothel and some offensive weapons. The police also found seven football-sized packs of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp concealed in paper and plastic and an unspecified quantity of the same substance that had been wrapped. Last Monday dawn, a private security man on duty at the Madina branch of Melcom was killed by suspected robbers. The robbers, who broke into the store, are said to have hit the security man’s head with a cutter when he attempted to fend them off. Operation Father Christmas The Madina Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent of Police Natoamah Yakubu Aggrey, told journalists in Accra yesterday that the exercise was also part of the Operation Father Christmas launched last Tuesday to ensure that the period before, during and after the Yuletide was crime-free. He said the suspects would be screened and throughly interrogated "to find out if we can get any clues that would lead to the arrest of murderers of the Melcom security guard”. He added that the perpetrators of the crime at the Madina Melcom branch had used “the element of surprise and attack”. “The police would have apprehended them and rescued the situation if the police had received timely information. What the perpetrators did was callous and a crime against humanity,” he stressed. Mr Aggrey also said the exercise would be sustained to ensure that all criminals were brought to book. He revealed that the police would mount day and night patrols in some selected areas, while the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) worked 24 hours.