Two people were killed in clashes between Gbi Godenu villagers and the Hohoe Police, while a third is being treated for injuries after being struck by a police car on Wednesday.
The rider was transported to the theatre for treatment of his accident-related wounds, according to a visit to the Hohoe Regional Hospital by the Ghana News Agency, but two other people were brought in dead and their bodies were left at the mortuary awaiting autopsy.
A miscommunication over alleged contraband between some police officers and residents left the Gbi Godenu settlement in the Hohoe Municipality empty.
The claimed altercation started with a police pursuit of a motorcyclist who was believed to be carrying some illegal shipment. The motorcyclist was knocked to the ground and hurt while being stopped by the police car’s driver.
Because of this occurrence, the locals organised to block the main Hohoe-Accra Road and engaged the police, however two of them were wounded by gunfire and suffered injuries.
Multiple reports about the event have differing accounts, however Mr. Andy Agbi, an eyewitness, told the GNA that a police cruiser that was pursuing a motorcyclist they thought was transporting contraband did not stop when signalled to do so.
He claimed that the police team then pursued the escape rider and knocked him to the ground in a gutter.
According to Mr. Agbi, after the injured rider was taken to the hospital by the locals, the police car later caught fire due to what he assumed to be an electrical problem.
The police, however, returned to the scene because they believed the event to be a revenge arson assault on their car.
He claimed that the Police had raided the neighbourhood, lit motorbikes on fire at random, and looted stores while firing their rifles indiscriminately to re-mobilize the neighbourhood and demonstrate their strength.
Mr. Agbi said he saw one of the victims, who was shot in the leg, rush to the hospital while he picked up information that one was also shot in the shoulder but later got information, that both had passed on.
When the GNA arrived at Gbi Wegbe, many of the shops were closed, with roads leading to Kpando from Hohoe and from Hohoe to Accra blocked.
It was observed that Schools at Gbi Wegbe as of 1330 hours were closed.
A male victim told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that he was dragged out of his shop by the Police and hit with the butt of a gun and he had to run for his life.
GNA saw bruises and a cut on his head, while his face and part of his body were swollen.
A female store owner at Godenu was wailing and shouting about how the Police had broken into her shop, destroyed her fridge and made away with some provisions.
A scuffle ensued and when Mr Daniel Noble Awume, Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), arrived at Gbi Wegbe, he was greeted by angry youth, who would not listen to any explanation from the MCE.
The occurrence later forced the MCE to drive away from the scene.
The road between where the civilians had mounted a roadblock and that of the Police was about two kilometres apart with visible sizes of stones and pieces of cement blocks littering the space. There was blood stain on some part of the road.
An ash car with registration number GC 8249 11 had all its glasses smashed, while more than 45 motorbikes were set ablaze.
A swoop by the Police also led to the seizure of parcels of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp.
The Police also picked up close to 15 individuals, some of whom were in handcuffs, with some showing various forms of injuries.
Mr Patrick Dzandu, Assemblyman, Gbi-Wegbe Electoral Area, who tried calming the nerves of angry residents, who had blocked the main Hohoe-Accra Road failed to convince the residents to leave the street.
Mr John-Peter Amewu, Member of Parliament of Hohoe, asked the Police to avoid any further swoop action against the Gbi Godenu and Gbi Wegbe communities as that could elicit the loss of lives.
The Paramount Chief of the Gbi Traditional Area Togbega Gabusu VII has called for calm from Gbi-Godenu to Gbi–Wegbe and assured the youth of an amicable resolution to ensure peace in the Gbi State.
“I have spoken to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) so this issue will be resolved but I ask that you (youth) do not take the laws into your own hands,” he added.
The Police said they restored calm after a violent disturbance in which a Police patrol vehicle involved in an accident with a motorbike rider was set on fire by some community members.
They added that “two people lost their lives in the violence and the motor rider who sustained injury during the accident is currently receiving medical attention, 12 people have so far been arrested and one Bruni pistol retrieved.”
Residents of Wegbe and Godenu suffered from Police brutality resulting in the death of two of their members last year and some months ago, and that could be the underlying conflict between the people and the Police.