Robbers Grabbed: 2 Gunned Down
The Accra Regional Police Command, in conjunction with the Kumasi and Aflao Police, has arrested a group of wanted notorious robbers who specialize in robbing bullion vans and banks as well as snatching weapons from Police personnel.
The robbers are Kofi Afoakwa aka Not Nice or Rasta, Yaw Afoakwa aka Dadesen, Kingsley Lawani aka Benin Boy, Dotse Babanawo aka Thunder or CK, Drop Am, Addis Ababa and Awudu. All but Babanawo and Benin Boy, who lost their lives in an exchange of fire with the police, are in police custody and being processed for court.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday at the National Police Headquarters in Accra, the Regional Police Commander, DCOP Rose Atingah Bio, said the robbers who have been operating for some years now in the country, killed two policemen in separate robbery incidents in Accra.
On October 10, 2009, at about 10:30am, the gang attacked a bullion van at Trede Filling Station in Kumasi and in the process snatched an AK 47 rifle from a policeman. Two days later, the same gang went to Tema and snatched a security man’s pick-up.
The next morning, they snatched a bullion van at Spintex Road, killed one Lance Corporal Samuel Antwi, a policeman at the Tema Buffalo Unit, and snatched his AK 47 rifle. However, they could not snatch the money as they were pursued by the Police, compelling them to abandon the pick-up and ran away after shooting at some passers-by and into a “trotro” vehicle, injuring several people and the cashier of the bullion van.
On 27th October 2009, Not Nice and his gang members went to Antis Co. Ltd. at Agbogba near Madina, where The Trust Bank’s officials had gone to collect money from a cement and iron rods distributor, and snatched an AK 47 rifle of the policeman on duty. Luck however eluded them since there was another policeman in the vehicle who upon seeing them, opened fire.
This prevented them from taking possession of the bullion van with the money on board. On November 2, 2009, at about 3:00 pm, the police upon a tip-off besieged a house at Agbogba where some of the suspected armed robbers were believed to be living.
A thorough search was conducted in the two-room self-contained apartment and an AK 47 assault rifle and a magazine with eight rounds of ammunition was found. It was later found to be the AK 47 rifle snatched from the policeman at Trede, Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region.
From that day, police mounted surveillance on the house. On November 5, 2009, at about 4:00 pm, the Police arrested a young man by name Leonard Shikabli and a young lady, Antoinette Ama Shikabli, who came to the apartment at Agbogba.
They were arrested and during interrogation, Antoinette told the police that her sister’s husband was involved in an accident and has been admitted to a hospital in Kumasi. She was therefore tasked to come and tidy up the said house.
A team of policemen were dispatched to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, where they met Not Nice who had been on the police wanted list for a very long time, with a bandage on his left arm, on admission under armed Police guard.
On November 6, 2009 at about 6:30 am, three suspects including his elder brother, Yaw Afoakwa aka Dadesen, were arrested when they came to the hospital to visit their injured colleague. Thereafter, Not Nice was referred to the Police Hospital in Accra for further treatment as well as the others.
On arrival in Accra on November 6, 2009, during interrogation, the two brothers, Yaw and Kofi Afoakwa named the other members of the gang as Awudu, Drop Am, Kingsley Lawani aka Benin Boy, Dotse Babanawo aka Thunder or C.K, and one Isaac living at Ashaiman.
Police however had information that one of their accomplices, Isaac Opong, a driver who lived at Ashaiman, was the one who usually led the gang, especially for all robberies committed within the Tema area.
On the same day at about 8:00 pm, Not Nice led a team of Police personnel to the house of Isaac Opong at Ashaiman and the latter was arrested. A search in his room revealed one AK assault rifle with three magazines containing 16 rounds of ammunition, one silent pistol with one magazine containing five rounds of ammunition, one hacksaw blade with a frame, five mobile phones, a Ghanaian passport and driver’s licence.
Isaac Opong also led the Police to the house of Benin Boy, a Nigerian, at Nungua but he was absent. Later at about 5: 15am the next day, Benin Boy was arrested by some neighbors with the help of the Nungua Police at Okpoi Gonno.
During interrogation, Benin Boy confessed to the robbery around Klagon – Lashibi area and indicated that it was ‘Drop Am’ who killed the Police man and took away his weapon. Benin Boy was able to lure ‘Drop Am’ to the Coco Beach, Nungua.
But the suspect, on seeing the Police with Benin Boy, opened fire on them. The Police returned fire, injuring the suspect in the process. He could however not survive the injury and died on the way to the hospital.
On November 7, 2009, the Police had further information that Addis Ababa, an errand boy of the gang, was supposed to go to the house of Not Nice to take the AK 47 rifle from his room to be given to either Drop Am or Thunder. Addis Ababa was lured by police to the said house and was arrested.
The Police, with the assistance of Addis Ababa, lured Dotse Babanawo aka Thunder or CK to Denu. When Addis Ababa was about to hand over the weapon to Thunder, the Police attempted to arrest him.
A struggle ensued between him and the police, during which suspect Babanawo drew a gun and shot at the Police. Sensing danger, the Police shot him. On the way to the hospital, he also died and his body was deposited at the Police Hospital Mortuary in Accra. The Aflao Police assisted in locating the house of the deceased in a bid to recover any stolen items if any.
There, the Police found the AK 47 rifle which was snatched from their colleague at Agbogba, near Madina. The cops retrieved one 4×4 ford vehicle which was originally wine with registration number GT 8682 Z, but changed to ash with registration number GW 7422 Z, P38 pistols – 2 imported ones with 11 rounds of ammunition, one locally made pistol with 4 rounds of bb cartridges, one big motor bike, five vehicle number plates bearing the numbers GT 8682 Z, GR 5808 V, GT 2674T, Togo number AI 5894TG, L /DVLA, one Police cap (the new type), one military camouflage trousers, Airborne force beret, a military top vest with the inscription “US Army”, a military rain coat, 26 half pieces of cloths and assorted ID cards as well as other documents.
So far, the surviving members of the gang have confessed to committing the Madina Ecobank robbery in which a bullion van with money was taken away and Sgt. Quansah of Adabraka Police was killed by Drop Am and his weapon taken away, the Ga Rural bank robbery at Taifa, ST. John’s Forex bureau robbery, Accra, and Tema Iron & Paint Co. Ltd robbery.
Other companies robbed by the group were Sethi Brothers, a Lebanese company, where Kofi Afoakwa aka Kofi Rasta or Not Nice confessed to receiving GH¢10,000.00 as his share of the booty, the Spintex Road snatching of Toyota pick-up belonging to the National Security, bullion van robbery at Lashibi-Klagon area where a Policeman was also killed and his AK 47 weapon snatched, one Forex Bureau at Tema Community One and numerous other Forex Bureaux robberies within Tema, Atala Co. Ltd, Achimota, and the attack on the Policeman and bullion van at Agbogba.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah Quaye, hoped that the arrest of the robbers would further deepen the confidence of the public in the police. He said the escalating robbery cases with its attended violent crimes made the public lose confidence in the police but the strategies his administration had put in place in combating crime such as the informant reward system, were really paying off and sought to repose public confidence in the police once again.
The IGP also disclosed that bullet proof vests had been recently acquired and shared among police stations nationwide so that personnel who go on risky assignments would use them to protect themselves.
He said this when a reporter asked if the service had any such plan since the lives of personnel who were combating robberies were highly at risk and they would need such protective measures.
On rewarding the personnel, the IGP said it was not only monetary gains which were rewarding but the satisfaction of a job well done as well as a good handshake from the IGP were far better than any other reward. He however said the service occasionally issued certificates to such deserving personnel to boost their morale.