An official of the National Health Insurance Scheme has been arrested in Yendi with ammunitions bound for Chereponi in the North East Region where escalation of ethnic conflict has led to curfew.
Mohammed Dueshi, a district Public Relations officer for Chereponi, was arrested by the Bureau of National Investigations operatives Sunday evening onboard a Metro Mass Transit bus.
The boxes of cartridges which were being transported from Tamale to the conflict zone were concealed under a seat in the bus that was being occupied by a police escort, sources within the Bureau told 3news.com
The unnamed police officer was said to have told the security personnel at the last barrier to Chereponi that the bus was ‘cleaned’ hence they should allow them free passage without any search.
However, the BNI operatives upon intelligence that contraband goods were being transported to the area, insisted on searching the bus registered GR 2026 U.
Initial search conducted revealed no such goods, but a thorough sweep of the bus led to the discovery of the boxes of the cartridges which Dueshi was said to have claimed ownership of.
250 AAA cartridges seized
Confirming the arrest to 3news.com, the Yendi Police Commander, Chief Supt Kofi Ayerizeng, said they seized a total of 250 pieces cartridges in 10 boxes.
He mentioned the type of cartridges as AAA.
Dueshi, he said, “claimed ownership of the content” of the boxes during interrogation
Arrest the Police escort
When reached for comment, Executive Director of Africa Center for Security and Counterterrorism, Emmanuel Kotin said the police officer who was escorting the bus ought to have been arrested.
“The officers claimed there was nothing in the bus and so they should be allowed to pass …I think the Police are complicit because they found the ammunition under the seat where the police [officer] was sitting,” Mr Kotin who received information about the incident said.
He added: “They didn’t arrest the officer but under normal circumstances that shouldn’t have been the case”
Mr Kotin described the incident as unfortunate, because a police officer, who should know better, was trying to impede the efforts of the security personnel on the ground in discovering the ammunition.
At least two persons died in the latest clashes between the Konkombas and the Chekosis with several homes torched, causing residents, mostly women and children, to flee the area due to humanitarian crisis.
The two ethnic groups have for years been fighting over a parcel of land which they claim has ancestral significance.
There is currently a 4:00pm to 6:00am curfew imposed on the people in the area as government tries to find lasting solution to the recurring conflict.
As part of the curfew is a total ban on all persons in the area from carrying arms, ammunition or any offensive weapon.