FORTY MEN suspected to be land guards were yesterday arrested for allegedly assaulting a group of artisans at Cantonments in Accra.
The Police, who responded to a distress call, arrested the suspectswho possessed cutlasses and clubs which they allegedly used to assault the artisans, mostly cane weavers.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Freeman Tettey, Greater Accra Police Public Relations Officer, who confirmed the incident to DAILY GUIDE, said the police had information that a group of thugs were threatening to forcibly eject the weavers from the land on which they operated in Accra.
He said the men were picked up together with a number of unregistered motorbikes.
According to the Greater Accra Police PRO, the men were all sent to the Cantonments Police Station but as at press time yesterday they were being conveyed to other police stations.
He said they would be screened since some of them claimed they were passers-by.
He added that after sorting them out, the appropriate charges would be preferred against those found culpable.
The suspects might be charged for harassment, threat, assault and causing harm.
Roger Adu, a 28-year-old cane weaver, who claimed he had operated on the land for the past seven years, told DAILY GUIDE that over the past three weeks a group of ?macho? men had been compelling them to relocate their kiosks and businesses from the place, as the land was to be developed.
?Sometimes they come at night and beat us,? Mr. Adu indicated.
He said the land guards, who claimed to be acting on behalf of a chief, uprooted trees and ornamental plants on the land, which obviously belonged to the Department of Parks and Gardens.
The suspects, he claimed, marked kiosks which also served as residential accommodation for some of them.
Later when they pleaded for some time to relocate, Mr. Adu said they were asked to provide the names of people on the land for some compensation to be paid to them to enable them to rent new places.
?So when we counted, there were about 260 kiosks and each had between two and four people.?
He said ?after the list was submitted we were told we had up to the end of May to relocate and that we will not receive any compensation.?
The man, who lived with his wife and child in his kiosk, said he and his colleagues paid GH?5 every year to one of the leaders to be paid to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
He noted that ?when we moved here the place was very bushy and people used the place as a place of convenience.
?Early yesterday morning, one ?macho? man came around to knock on our doors and informed us that our time was up. Shortly after that, a bulldozer pulled down a fence,? he said.
?When we pleaded for some more time they started beating us,? said Mr Adu, who claimed most of his friends were receiving medical treatment.
BY Emelia Ennin Abbey