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2 September 2002 | General News

Katamanso Palace Threatened

By Chronicle

"FOR SOMETIME, we believed that the palace was under attack just as was witnessed in other places," he said referring recent incidents at the Tema Mantse and the Ya-Na's palaces.

This was a narration of an eye-witness who buried himself in the modern palace of historic Katamanso in the Greater Accra Region, sandwiched between Ashaiman/Zenu and Dodowa/Appolonia.

The Chief of Katamanso, Nii Out Akwetey IX, told the Chronicle that in the early hours of Monday August 26,this year, they heard sporadic gunfire at a distance but assumed that it was coming from the barrels of the military undertaking 'bush exercise.'

A second thought had it that each time the military were going to conduct any exercise in the area, the chief's attention is drawn but this was not the case.

Soon the firing got closer to the palace and so he managed to disseminate information among the youth of Katamanso.

For barely an hour, they heard the firing and occasional bangs so they also got ready to face the aggressors. Men positioned themselves at the Appolonia road, Ashaiman roads and then laid ambush on the other outlets.

The firing subsided and suddenly the culprits took to their heels. A few minutes later one person believed to be insane emerged from the bush into the open but was arrested.

A search conducted around the palace revealed that the statues of the unknown warrior, which was unveiled last June was attacked. Its right forearm that held a symbolical gun was severed, affecting the positioning of the gun.

Seven wreaths laid at the tomb were scattered and a Nissan Urvan bus with registration GR 6654 T parked on the compound of the palace was not spared. Both front and back windscreens were smashed, together with the right-side window glasses.

A sound system in the Urvan was removed. Police and military patrol teams from Tema arrived and searched the surroundings to no avail.

Nii Akwetey said that the situation remains calm and assured his people of peace so nobody should panic.

According to him, for the period that the palace was under threat, Nungua, whose traditional stronghold is Katamanso, expressed its desire to move in but he told them that the 'internal force' at his disposal can handle the situation, though they should standby in case of any eventuality.

On June 15, 2000, the assembly member of Katamanso, Isaac Laryea Otoo, was killed by gunmen who raised bullets into a car they were using to convey two suspects who went to steal fish from a pond. On that day, the first person arrested also reportedly behaved like an insane man.

Further investigation by the Chronicle disclosed that the Nungua stool has Katamanso under it.

One of the factions claiming the Nungua stool is wooing Katamanso for support against the other, but this was declined by the Katamanso chief who remained uncorrupted behind the rightful heir to the Nungua stool.

In 1826, the Ga-Dangme, backed by the British and other allied tribes, stopped the Asantes at the Katamanso War, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Dodowa.

The Asantes wanted to gain access to the sea and control the slave trade. After their defeat, the chief who led the Asantes was reportedly forced to swear an oath - ka Ntam na su (swear an oath and cry) - which was corrupted to become Katamanso.

That anniversary was narrated on July 20, this year amid during, firing of musketry and merry making.

The police at Tema say they are investigating the incident.

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