Chief assaulted over decongestion exercise

A subchief in Tamale in the Northern region responsible for Entertainment, Mohammed Hafiz Demanaa was severely assaulted after he led a team of armed soldiers to evict petty traders and hawkers who were forcibly driven away from streets last week in a ruthless decongestion exercise.

The subchief has been leading the security forces to hack down traders wares on expressways and tow them to the Tamale Metropolitan assembly office in the exercise that city authorities said would continue unabated.

Demana led the soldiers to a new trading point given to the traders and approved by the three prominent Chiefs in Tamale to evict them again after claiming the place was unauthorized.

The traders got angry and attacked him in the full glare of the armed soldiers and physically manhandled him.

The ruthless decongestion exercise which started last week left petty traders, mostly women inconsolable and hopeless.

Many people suffered various injuries while the soldiers were trying to rescue the subchief who has been a target by a section of Tamale residents.

Tamale city Mayor, Musah Iddrisu Superior on Monday led a team of gun-wielding soldiers and police force to coerce hawkers to evacuate the congested streets after a three-month ultimatum elapsed today.

Several evacuation efforts have failed to uproot the hawkers and petty traders from the streets. Last year a car rammed into the traders and killed a middle aged woman. Accident cases and traffic chaos have surged. However, a former mayor, Hanan Gundaadow reportedly said he lacked political will to decongest the streets.

Petty traders scattered across the streets were forcefully evicted and driven away Monday to occupy the main Aboaba and other satellite markets still uncompleted, sparking rowdy protests.

Items, kiosks and other unauthorised structures on streets belonging to some hawkers were brought down and towed to the metropolitan assembly office by the security forces, despite emotional pleas and tears shed by the vulnerable women.

The traders are accusing the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly of selling market spaces to wealthy traders and private institutions like banks and eateries, therefore refusing to evacuate the streets.

Meanwhile, soldiers have been deployed to the Central Business District and other hotspots by city authorities who appear indifferent to the raging controversy.

However, the Tamale Mayor Musah Superior, told newsmen during the decongestion exercise that it was going to continue until he leaves office adding that political interference wasn’t going to stop him.

“We have a forty member task force which has been trained effectively for the past three weeks to handle this so I can assure you that it is not going to be a nine-day wonder. For anybody who comes and trades on the street, we shall chase him out, we will prosecute him and he will answer in the law court. We have told them to go to Kapkagyili, Kukuo, Kalpohin and Sagnarigu markets.”

“Political parties have intervened but I have told them the right thing that if you don’t want me to work then just leave me. We have to understand why I am doing this project. I am doing this because of the health and safety of the people.”, Superior said to newsmen.


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