Ringleader in Tamale hospital attack arrested
The Police in Tamale have arrested the ringleader of a vigilante group that invaded the office of the CEO of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, last Monday and forced him out. Baba Alhassan was picked up Thursday morning, a day after four others, arrested Wednesday for the offence, were released for lack of evidence. He is likely to be charged with unlawful entry, offensive conduct and assault. Northern Region Police PRO Mohammed Yussif Tanko told Joy News investigations are still ongoing to arrest Alhassan's accomplices in Monday’s attack. Baba Alhassan and his colleagues, with bags strapped behind them, invaded the offices of the Tamale Teaching Hospital in vigilante style and instructed the CEO of the hospital Dr David Zaawumya Akolbila to walk out and hand over the keys to his office. He obeyed thei instructions without question. The men who are believed to be members of the NPP vigilante group, Kandahar Boys, are ruthless with a history of invasion of public offices and assault on political appointees they claim are corrupt. Dr Akolbila’s crimes, the group claims are no different from the political appointees before him- corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. They gave no evidence for their allegations except their word. With all the impunity, they walked Akolbila and his staff out of the offices and locked them out. They later granted media interviews, demanding the dismissal of the hospital's CEO and further warned they would return if a replacement of Dr Akolbila is found to be corrupt. Strike Alarmed by the impunity of the group, Health workers at the Tamale Teaching Hospital declared a strike. Except for emergency cases and patients already in the facility, the doctors, nurses and paramedics declined to accept any OPD cases. The workers say they no longer feel safe in the hospital and want the police to assure them of their security by arresting the perpetrators. On Thursday, Joy News’ Tamale correspondent Martina Bugri reported health workers were still turning away patients. They said their strike would continue until their concerns have been resolved completely. Martina said residents have decided to visit satellite hospitals in the Municipality. She said chiefs and opinion leaders are meeting hospital authorities to find a solution to the impasse. The Northern Region Minister Salifu Saeed has assured of better protection for them. According to him, the authorities are considering building a police post on the hospital’s premises to provide 24-hour surveillance. Kandahar denial The vigilante group in the Northern Region affiliated to the governing party denied any involvement in Monday’s attack. They had previously attacked many allied state institutions, locked up offices and assaulted CEOs but swore they had no hand in the latest attack. On Wednesday, they held a press conference demanding the immediate release of four of their members who they said were wrongfully arrested. The Interior Minister Ambrose Dery called their bluff. He told Joy News the investigations would continue and if the four men were found culpable they would be prosecuted. He cited instances in the Ashanti Region where members of vigilante groups have been arrested and successfully prosecuted. He said the same thing would happen in this case. A few hours later, the four men were released by the police for lack of evidence. However, the Tamale Police have since arrested Alhassan whom they say is a prime suspect. They say he will be arraigned before court. “This morning we managed to arrest Baba Alhassan from his house. Currently, he is being cautioned by investigators. We are looking at offensive conduct, unlawful entry and assault for now. Maybe some charges might come later," Mohammed Tanko said. He said they are looking for the accomplices and will arrest them.