Police in Western regional capital, Takoradi, spent three emotionally-charged hours to fend off a mob baying to lynch a man suspected of kidnapping.
“It was a hell of a time,” DSP Olivia Ewurabena Adiku told journalists following the incident Wednesday evening.
Residents turned into a mob and blocked entry into the Chief’s Palace at Diabena, a suburd of Essikado-Ketan where a 41-year-old man was rescued from the crowd refuge.
He had been assaulted, spotting several bruises after he was accused of attempting to kidnap a 12-year-old girl and Primary Five student whose name has been withheld.
According to DSP Olivia Adiku, police were dispatched to the area following a distress call.
But it soon became obvious, the threat had been underestimated as reinforcements were called in to face up to the motley crowd.
Takoradi has grown sensitive to childrens’ welfare and criminal ways following the unresolved kidnapping of three girls in the last quarter of 2018.
Dissatisfaction with police processes to find the girls appears to be feeding an instinct for instant justice.
At the Chief of Diabena’s palace where the Queenmother and her family kept the suspect, the mob outside refused to heed to police calls to disperse.
“We spoke to them at length to allow police to enter,” the police officer explained anf they finally gained access to the man.
But not without three police officers suffering assault and their eventual escape was not without damage to their vehicle.
“They smashed the rear and front windscreens and also the screen between the front seat and the bucket of the pick-up.”
Parents of the suspect reported to the station to identify the suspect as their son, Abu Shaibu, whom they said is mentally ill.
They explained they recently settled in Diabena after reviously living in Kwesimintim.
The suspect was given police forms to seek treatment at a hospital. The DSP said investigations have begun into the incident.
“We have to really investigate to know whether indeed it was a false alarm or whether indeed the gentleman intended to kidnap the girl.”
She explained a court order would have to be obtained to ascertain the claim of mental illness.
The police officer stressed to residents that they respect human rights of persons they believe to have committed a crime.
“If we are not careful we will end up killing innocent people,” she warned.
It turned out that inside the motley crowd was the mother of the suspect who did not know her son was about to be lynched.