Witness Identifies Eight Persons In Ya Na Trial
Mr. Imram Saibu, a nurse at the Tamale Hospital and third Prosecution Witness in the Ya Na murder trial on Wednesday September 15, implicated eight persons who he claim played major roles in the murder of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II, the Overlord of Dagbon. Mr. Saibu who was led in evidence by Ms. Gertrude Aikins, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), identified the nine persons as; Iddrisu Iddi, Alhaji Baba Abudulai, Mahammadu Abudulai,Sani Moro,Ahmed Abubakari, Mohammed Mustapha and Alhassan Braimah. Zakaria Forest, the man who allegedly cut off the head of the Ya Na and hands with a chainsaw is at large. Fourteen persons are on trial for their alleged involvement in the assassination of Ya-Na Andani and 30 others in March 2002. They have all pleaded not guilty to 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. Mr. Saibu, narrating the event, said on March 25, 2002, he had a call from Wa for him to send a Satellite Dish to the Gbewaa Palace in Yendi. He said when they got to Yendi, he saw people celebrating the Bugum festival and few minutes later met some soldiers who asked them if they did not know it was curfew. He said the military took them to Police station and whilst there, they heard the firing of gunshots. Mr. Saibu said the following morning, he asked someone to go and tell Alhassan Andani, the son of the Ya Na, to send somebody to help them carry the Dish. According to him, later at the palace, the firing intensified and one Mba Musa who had been shot was brought there and Andani asked that he should be sent the hospital. Mr. Saibu also said when the situation became critical, the warriors of the Ya Na fired back at the attack of the Abudus. According to witness "One cannot be attacked in his own house without defending himself". He said later that night, they heard the sound of a Helicopter landing at the "park" which the Ya Na said it could be that the government may have heard about the situation and was about to rescue them. He said on March 27, the attacks became severe and the young men in the palace who knew how to use guns also fired back at the attackers while the Ya Na and his elders were in the inner hall.Mr. Saibu said later, Mbakpuku, one of the elders, told the Ya Na to leave the palace or they would be killed but he refused and retorted that: "The palace was the land of the fathers and grandfathers, and that he was not moving". He said later whilst the palace was burning, he saw the Abudus going after the Ya Na who managed to escape into the palace mausoleum with a shot to his groin. He said whilst there, Alhassan Andani, Nantoma, and Mutawakil also joined him and asked that they should leave the palace. He said while he was hiding in the mausoleum, he saw Moro Sani and Mahammadu Abudulai dragging the body of the Ya Na towards his direction and Mohammed Mustapha carrying lorry tyres and a container. He said later, Zakaria Forest brought a chainsaw machine which they used in cutting the head of Ya Na and his hands. He said later Alhassan Braimah took photos of the decapitated body of the Ya Na and few minutes later, saw Iddrisu Iddi, the self-style Mbadugu of the Abudus with the head of the Ya Na on a spear and celebrating with others towards the Abudu area of the town. He said later, he managed to crawl into the prison quarters and was helped by one officer at the place into the yard and met Alhassan Andani, Nantoma and Mutawakil. He said whilst there, they heard the sound of an armoured vehicle and heard one military officer ask his colleague whether they had not finish their mission and the other retorted that they were expecting some armed men from Tamale and "when they come they would finish them". He said because of what he heard, he escaped to Tamale where he wrote a statement at the police station. 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 they were arraigned. The case has been adjourned to thursday, September 16, 2010.