Some armed policemen and Immigration officers engaged in a confrontation at Sakaman Junction in Accra last Wednesday following a misunderstanding over the custody of four Nigerians they had arrested for alleged immigration offences.
The policemen from the Odorkor District are reported to have attacked and bullied four Immigration officers to release the suspects to them (the police).
There were seven suspects but three of them managed to escape arrest in an operation led by Supt Elijah Narh of the Ghana Immigration Service.
The Immigration officers acted on a tip-off from some residents in the McCarthy Hill area.
While the Immigration officers were escorting the suspects to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Headquarters, they were accosted by the armed policemen, who appeared from behind them at the Sakaman Junction at 10.30 a.m.
The policemen, using a police Navara pick-up vehicle with registration number GP 3693 and sounding a siren, encountered the Immigration officers who were using a Honda saloon car and blocked the Honda from moving any further.
The policemen who outnumbered the four Immigration officers demanded that the latter hand over the four Nigerian suspects.
One policeman in mufti reportedly pointed his gun at the Immigration officer who was driving the saloon vehicle and dared him to drive off if he were a man.
The confrontation between the two groups shocked eyewitnesses who had gathered around to watch the spectacle.
Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the GIS, Supt Michael Amoako Atta, told Graphic Online: “Our officers at the Weija Command embarked on an operation and arrested the four Nigerian suspects.
“On their way back to headquarters, these policemen believed to be coming from the Odorkor Police District accosted them on the way and demanded that the suspects be freed, which our officers refused. The policemen engaged in physical violence to free the suspects and also take over the exhibits that had been seized, including laptops.”
He said a report was subsequently made to the Police Headquarters and later in the evening on Wednesday the police returned three of the suspects and the seven laptops but added that as of 4 p.m. on Thursday the fourth suspect had not been returned to the Immigration officers.
When contacted, DSP Effia Tenge, in charge of Police Public Relations in Accra, said the police received a distress call around 10 a.m. that some people in military uniform were terrorising some residents of the McCarthy Hill area at a place commonly referred to as Weija Down or Gbawe Borla.
She said the police quickly moved to the area and saw the four men, two of whom were in Immigration uniform, while the others were in mufti, escorting suspects into a taxi cab and a private saloon vehicle.
She said one of the suspects was a lady.
She said when the police enquired, the four refused to disclose their identities and were adamant on releasing information to the police.
The Immigration officers, according to DSP Tenge, later said they were taking the suspects to the district assembly at Weija and that the police should follow them.
She said when the four got to the Weija Junction Traffic Light, they diverted and sped off, leaving the police behind, for which reason the police called the main control room for reinforcement since they suspected the four men might not be true Immigration officers.
Ms Tenge said it was the reinforcement team that accosted the Immigration officers at Sakaman Junction and took the suspects to the Odorkor Police Station for their proper custody.
The suspects, she said, were later released to the Immigration Headquarters when the police later found out the real identities of the officers.
On the whereabouts of the fourth suspect, who the Immigration officers claimed was still missing, DSP Tenge insisted the police only took away three suspects and not four, as claimed by the Immigration officers.