There was pandemonium in Kumawu yesterday when police had to use tear gas to disperse a crowd that had gathered to have a glimpse of one of the two chiefs of the town.
Barima Tweneboa Koduah V, who was installed last Monday, and his followers were asked by the police to celebrate the Akwasidae indoors.
However, after sitting down for a while, the chief decided to leave for home and was followed by the people most of whom had come to join him in the celebration.
In order to prevent a possible clash between supporters of the two chiefs, the police opened tear gas on the people.
In retaliation, the people pelted the police with stones ,which angered the police to reply in equal measure as they shot more tear gas into their midst.
People had to run helter-skelter for cover as they struggled for breath.
Even some police personnel and journalists who had come to witness the celebration had to look for water to wash their faces to clear the gas from their eyes.
And when normalcy returned and Barima Kodua was allowed to leave the venue, the people who had gathered along the road massed up again and followed him.
Again there was a stand-off between the police and the people who had massed up at the roundabout leading to the town.
There were no casualties but the police managed to arrest nine people for their involvement in the riot.
Briefing the press later, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Commander of Police, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Osei Ampofo Duku, who led the operation, said the police had to resort to rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the people because they breached the Public Order Act.
According to him, the police suspected that something of the sort would happen and as such deployed men there to ensure peace and security.
He said since the police were aware of only one person as the chief of the town, whose installation he witnessed, Barima Kodua was advised to not extend his celebration beyond the four walls of the venue.
This, he said, was accepted and complied with until later in the day when they decided to hit town.
Mr Duku said the police could not allow that and had to use force to restrain them.
Those arrested, he said, would be processed for court for rioting.
He said the police would maintain their presence in the town until there was no imminent security threat there.
Meanwhile, the other chief who has been customarily installed, Barima Tweneboa Kodua, has asked the people to remain calm and to rally behind him to bring development to the area.
Addressing members of the traditional council at his maiden Akwasidae, he assured the people that he remained the only chief of the town that had been recognised by the Asanteman Council.
He said he had met all the requirements for that purpose and as such the people should disregard anyone parading himself as Kumawuhene.
source: Graphic Online