Ekpu youth abandon town for fear of police

Youth who fled Ekpu, a fishing community near Half Assini in the Jomoro District of the Western Region, for fear of being brutalized by police are yet to return to the town, according to the Assemblyman of the community. Peter Miezah explained that this situation has slowed down economic activity in the area especially since most of the youths are into fishing which is a major source of livelihood for the community. It would be recalled that Onua FM broke the story of how Police from the Western Regional Command numbering about 100 invaded the small fishing community in the early hours of Tuesday, April 11 and took residents in a “hostage situation”. Member of Parliament for Jomoro and Deputy Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs Paul Essien saw  the invasion by the police as revenge for an attack at the Half Assini Police station which is said to have been orchestrated by Ekpu youth. The Western Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwesi Mensah Duku, later told the media 50 youths were picked for further interrogation. Assemblyman Miezah said the youths have fled to Cote d’Ivoire. Explaining the latest development to host of Onua FM’s morning show Bright Kwesi Asempa, the Assemblyman said every attempt to convince them to come back prove futile. They have expressed fears that they will be arrested and brutalized if they return, he said. Hence, they have decided to remain in ‘exile’ until the situation calms down, he added. “They are terrified and when you come to the town, it is only the old folks and school children that are there. We are fisher folks and this is having effect on our businesses. We are talking to them but they are not willing to come because they are afraid.” Meanwhile, the Western Regional Police Commander has refuted claims that the police offered GH¢5000 to the family of a suspect who died in custody at Half-Assini. DCOP Mensah-Duku said his outfit has not given any money for compensation and the story must be disregarded. He, however said 16 out of the 50 people who have been picked up from Ekpu have been granted bail to reappear on May 16.

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