Police have uncovered a plot to raid and rob banks and filling stations in the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga, and picked up two men in connection with the conspiracy.
Also on the suspects’ target list, according to sources, are some other business establishments enjoying the fastest cash inflow in the municipality. Police say the accused persons also had planned to go after some gold miners in the region.
“Had the police not detected this early and arrested them, these men could have plunged the capital into a big tragedy and anybody, I mean anybody, could have fallen victim if they had launched their planned attacks.
“Look at the crowd they could have attacked at a bank or at a filling station if they had not been caught. People would have died in a possible gun battle because there could have been an exchange of bullets and stray bullets could have hit people whilst they are running,” remarked a shocked but thankful resident after police had picked up the suspects days apart.
The automatic pump action gun was tied beneath the motorised tricycle The automatic pump action gun was tied beneath the motorised tricycle Police caught a whiff of the plot when a young man approached a police detective at the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Command and disclosed the secret plan to the officer.
The informant told the police how one Rasheed Adams had spoken of plans to seize some firms as hostages in Bolgatanga— including banks and petrol stations— and had asked for his assistance as a trusted driver to convey an automatic pump action gun from Kobore, a community in the Bawku West District, to the regional capital for the operations.
Rasheed is said to have strongly stated that the intended raids would not target just Gh¢10,000 per operation but an amount beginning from Gh¢20,000 upwards. The informant told the police he declined to assist the suspect but thought it wise to notify the law enforcement agency so that the criminal move could be blocked before the suspect could eventually find someone else to abet him in getting the weapon down to the capital.
How Suspect Was Trapped
The police gave the informant a crucial assignment. He was asked to return to the suspect and express interest in assisting him. It was a ploy deployed for the suspect’s arrest.
A few days later, the informant returned to the police, saying he had done as told and that Rasheed had fixed a date to convey the gun to Bolgatanga. He also furnished the police with some recordings of the secret conversations he had with the suspect about their plan.
This is how they planned to sidestep police checkpoints on the way without any officer noticing they were carrying an automatic pump action gun unlawfully. The informant was to drive a motorised tricycle, otherwise called motorking, from Bolgatanga to Kobore. The gun would be tied beneath the motorised tricycle, a place anyone hardly might notice or suspect there was an illicit item, and carefully driven several miles to the capital.
The police provided the informant, who was acting as a disguised accomplice, with a motorised tricycle for the Rasheed-led mission. Whilst the camouflaged partner in crime was on the road, a police squad had gone ahead and positioned itself in ambush along that ECOWAS highway. And as the suspect communicated intermittently from Kobore on the telephone with the informant, particularly asking how close he was, the informant also was relaying to the police the discussions he was having with the suspect.
Bolgatanga Municipal Police Commander, Chief Supt. Samuel Tibil Punobyin, is calling for more police-public partnership. Bolgatanga Municipal Police Commander, Chief Supt. Samuel Tibil Punobyin, is calling for more police-public partnership. A Breakdown that almost caused a Heartbreak
After the informant had crossed the bridge on the White Volta River, the motorised tricycle broke down. That was around 2:00pm.
One of the detective officers recalled how the breakdown of that vehicle almost spelled a debacle for the ambush arrest. At that point, the suspect pestered the informant on the telephone, asking what was taking him so long. Each time he called, his disguised abettor replied as ‘whispered’ to him by the nearby police team— to say he was on the way, getting closer to Kobore.
The police managed to secure another motorised tricycle from a health facility in the capital. They fuelled it and the informant had to return to Bolgatanga and rode the vehicle through the same miles-long distance towards Kobore. As Rasheed kept calling, the informant kept giving him the same answer with a more reassuring tone.
When he finally arrived at Kobore, the suspect tied the weapon to the ‘underbelly’ of the vehicle and, together with his camouflaged conspirator, joyfully hit the road for the capital. Having been shown by the police where they were lying in wait to arrest the suspect and instructed to pretend he was going to discharge urine when he arrived at the ambush spot with the suspect, the informant begged to be excused to answer the call of nature when they reached the forest-encircled Tilli Junction.
The informant, as planned with the law enforcers, disappeared from the scene when he got to the location with Rasheed. And soon after he had vanished from sight, the police appeared and rounded up the suspect. The weapon was found under the vehicle and, as expected, had passed through police checkpoints unnoticed.
Denial and Detention
Rasheed, upon his arrest, denied any knowledge about the weapon. He said the informant (who had disappeared from the scene) was given the gun by somebody and that he only boarded the vehicle from Zebilla, the Bawku West district capital, on his way to Kongo, a town in the Nabdam District.
As he spoke to the officers, his phone rang repeatedly with calls from a particular number. When asked who was calling him, he told the police it was the owner of the weapon. Then, the police asked how come the owner of the weapon was calling his line when he, at the same time, had denied any knowledge about the gun.
Speechless, his forehead wrinkled with bare guilt and it dripped steadily with sweat. He was handcuffed and taken to the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Station with the weapon. The informant, after the arrest of the suspect, resurfaced and dragged the broken-down tricycle to Bolgatanga, using the one the police hired from a health facility to tow it along.
Days after Rasheed’s arrest, a team of investigators and armed police personnel from the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Command arrested the owner of the gun, Karim Mumuni, nicknamed “Killer Zero”. He was picked up from his hideout at Tiegu, a community in the Bawku West District.
Police Bring Suspects before the Court
Foiling the horror the suspects were about to unleash on businesses in the capital is one of the latest remarkable feats the police in the municipality have accomplished in recent times after unearthing an ‘Indian Hemp Prayer Camp’ in April, this year, in the regional capital.
The Bolgatanga Municipal Police Commander, Chief/Supt. Samuel Tibil Punobyin, who is getting resounding applause from the public for his hard-hitting punch against criminals, called for more collaboration between police and “credible informants” in an interview with Starr News.
“The suspects have been put before court (the Bolgatanga District Magistrate Court). They are on remand at the Navrongo Central Prisons and they will be appearing until the final determination of the case. We should have confidence in the police. And once again I will assure them (informants) that we will cover them. We will never blow their cover.
“In our own small way, we’ll ensure that they are adequately compensated. There is a package for informants, depending on the credibility of your information. These suspects could have come to rob people but for the information we had and the way we acted swiftly. Fighting crime has been a challenge. Can you believe that even after we had arrested these suspects, some people still followed up, trying every means to get them out? We thank the informant and we also thank the public for their support,” Chief/Supt. Punobyin said on Wednesday.