Witness denies that Andanis first attacked Abudus

Mr Alhassan Yakubu, fourth Prosecution Witness (PW4) in the Ya- Na trial on Wednesday denied claims from Defence Counsel that it was the Andani’s who first attacked the Boli-lana, compelling the Abudus to repel the assault.

He said the reason why he had to sleep at the Yendi Secondary School on March 26, 2002, even though the place was not safe was that the Gbewaa Palace was under attack.

Mr Alhassan Yakubu made the statement when Mr Philip Addison, Lead Counsel for Defence was continuing his cross-examination of PW4 at the trial.

Fourteen persons are on trial for their alleged involvement in the assassination of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, overlord of Dagbon, and 30 others in March 2002.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to murder and murder.

The accused persons are Mohammed Habib Tijani, former Yendi District Chief Executive (DCE); Iddrisu Iddi, 76; Alhaji Baba Iddrisu Abdulai, 54; Kwame Alhassan, 53 and Mohammadu Abdulai, 57.

The others are Saibu Mohammed, 34; Alhassan Mohammed Briamah, 40; Alhassan Ibrahim; Mohammed Mustapha and Sani Moro.

The rest are Yakubu Usifu; Ahmed Abukari; Abdul Razak Usifu and Alhassan Braimah.

One Zakaria Forest, the man alleged to have decapitated the head and hands of the Ya- Na, is at large.

Mr Yakubu also refuted claim that he had stated at the Wuako Commission that he stayed at the school till March 27, and not March 26, 2002.

He told the court that he got to the palace around 0700 hours and by that time intensive firing that ensued the previous night had gone down.

He said when he entered the palace he met Amadu Abukari, Imrana Saibu, Iddrisu Mutawakil, Bashiru Red and Alhassan Andani at the main hall, while the Ya Na and his elders were in the inner hall.

When questioned by the Defence Counsel whether the names he mentioned as well as the Ya- Na and his elders were the only people in the palace?

He said there were about 50 people in the palace and the young men among them who knew how to use gun were firing because the palace was under attack.

Mr Yakubu said later when the fighting intensified and the palace was burning he had to escape into the palace mausoleum from where he jumped a wall to the Prison quarters to hide behind a wood.

He said while he was hiding behind the wood he saw Mohammed Abdulai and Sani Moro holding the Ya- Na who was about 70 metres away.

He said later he heard the sound of a machine but did not see what happened but one Yahaya said they have cut the chief’s head.

He said later he saw Iddrisu Iddi holding the Ya- Na’s head on a spear with the Boli-lana, Yidana Sugri and many Abudus singing and dancing.

Mr Yakubu also denied claims by the Defence that the wives and children of the Ya- Na left the Gbewaa palace on Wednesday March 27 and not on Tuesday March 26, 2002.

He also refuted allegation that he (Yakabu) and other PWs had bean coached by the Prosecution to come and lie against the accused persons.

Mr Yakubu Mahama, a security person at the Value Added Tax Service, Tamale and fifth PW implicated Mohammed Habib Tijani, former Yendi District Chief Executive as an accessory to the murder of the Ya- Na.

Mr Mahama who was giving his evidence in Chief said while he was on admission at the Yendi hospital for gun shots on March 29, 2002 the former DCE came round with some people to visit patients at the place.

He said after their visit the former DCE came to his bed and stated that “it is our arrogance that led to the murder of the Ya- Na, because we did not listen to advise”.

He said on March 24, 2002, he left for work in the evening as a Watchman at the Church of Christ Clinic in Yendi and after close of work the following morning on March 25, he left for the Gbewaa palace.

He said some few metres away from the palace, he met a crowd who told him that Mba Dugu’s son Ziblim Abdulai had been attacked by the Abudus when he was asked to invite some elders of the Ya- Na to the palace.

He said when he entered the palace the Ya- Na confirmed the report and asked PW5 to inform the police about the matter.

He said around 0900 hours on March 27, he and others were in front of the palace when it came under heavy attack and saw three people holding guns, one of whom he identified as Ayoma who shot him in his thigh and the groin.

He said he was rescued and taken to the palace, where  the Ya- Na asked him to report the matter to the police. He was later admitted at the Yendi hospital.

He said while there his boss, a pastor of the Church of Christ send his driver to visit him and was sent to the Tamale hospital for further treatment.

The facts presented by the prosecution was that sometime in March 2002, the Ya-Na and some of his elders were killed following a clash between the two royal gates in Dagbon – Abudus and Andanis.

After the clash, Idrissu Gyamfo and Yidana Sugri were arrested and prosecuted for the alleged murder but they were acquitted and discharged.

The government in a fresh attempt to find the murderers conducted a dawn swoop at Yendi during, which 41 persons were rounded up.

After screening them in Bimbilla, 33 were granted self-recognisance bail, while the rest were taken to Accra. Subsequently others were arrested and were arraigned.

The case has been adjourned to October 4, for further cross-examination.

Source: GNA

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