At least two people have sustained injuries after traders clashed with thugs suspected to be land guards at Akwatia Line in the Ashanti Region on Tuesday (18 July).
The traders, some of whom are wood sellers, had been in a tussle with the local assembly following plans to relocate them to pave way for redevelopment of the area.
Upon seeing contractors on site, the traders launched attempts to stop the workers, citing a pending lawsuit. In the ensuing melee, the suspected land guards suddenly emerged and engaged them in a near fisticuff, injuring two people in the process.
A high court had already dismissed after the traders filed an earlier petition seeking to halt the project and claim ownership of the land.
While it is not clear who sanctioned the deployment of these suspected thugs, the traders have vowed to resist the relocation and redevelopment plans, accusing the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly of acting in bad faith.
“We have already petitioned another court over this issue. This morning we saw some land guards on the land and one of them holding a machete attempted to attack me,” one of the aggrieved traders said.
“While running for cover one of them attacked my brother with a sharp object injuring him in the process. The Assembly has not been fair to us. We were not even served with an eviction notice. We are just calling on the government to intervene.”
However, authorities are defending their actions. The presiding member of the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly, Matthew Amissah, said that the project is in the interest of the traders. He said enough consultations would be done to put the matter to rest.
“Sitting on that land does not mean it belongs to you. Assembly members are just here to see what is happening. They went to court to fight for their rights, but the court quashed their case,” Amissah said.
“And so, our attention was drawn to the development and that is why we came. Before the project started, we engaged the people but there was some resistance. But it appears one of them who claims the land belongs to him went to court and as you may have heard the case was quashed,” he added.
The two injured individuals are receiving treatment at the Manhyia Government Hospital.
The police are maintaining law and order in the area.
Source: Asaase Radio