By Hafsa Obeng, GNA
Accra, June 14, GNA – Six persons accused of kidnapping the two Canadians nationals in Kumasi were on Friday remanded when they appeared before an Accra High Court.
The six, Sampson Aghalor, alias Romeo, Elvis Ojiyorwe and Jeff Omarsar, are Nigerians, while Yusif Yakubu, Abdul Nasir and Seidu Abubakar, alias NBA are Ghanaians resident in Kumasi.
They were among the eight suspects arrested by security forces on Wednesday June 12.
The Court presided over by Justice George Buadi, remanded all six into police custody at the BIN Headquarters to reappear on July 1, 2019.
They were said to have conspired and kidnapped Miss Lauren Patricia Catherine Tilley and Miss Bailey Jordan Chilly.
Their pleas were, however, not taken as investigations continue.
Prosecuting, Hilda Craig, Senior State Attorney, presenting the facts of the case told the Court that sometime in March 2019, Sampson who had been in Ghana for some time, struck acquaintance with Yusif and the two became friends.
She said in the course of the friendship, Sampson discussed the idea of engaging in kidnapping with Yusif who agreed to assist him in the nefarious activity. Yusif then assisted Sampson to procure a pistol.
She said in furtherance of the plan to engage in kidnapping, Sampson went to Nigeria and recruited Elvis and Jeff to Ghana sometime in May 2019.
The prosecution said Sampson, Elvis, and Jeff stayed in Ashaiman for a few days on arrival in Ghana and proceeded to Kumasi where they met up with Yusif.
Mrs Craig said whilst in Kumasi, the four held discussions on how to proceed with their kidnapping activities.
She told the Court that Sampson who was the financier of the criminal gang gave Yusif money to rent a vehicle, an apartment in a secluded area outside town and two pistols and ammunition for their activities.
On June 4, Yusif contacted a car rental company at Aboabo, owned by one Abdul Raman Suliemana and rented a Toyota Corolla saloon car at a cost of GHC 400.
She said in the evening of the same day, the four accused persons on board the vehicle went round in search of victims.
Miss Lauren Patricia Catherine Tilley and Miss Bailey Jordan Chilly, who are Canadian nationals, were in Kumasi to participate in a youth programme organised by the Youth Challenge International.
She said the two ladies bordered an Uber taxi to their hostel at Nhyiayeso behind the Vienna hotel and were accosted by the accused persons when they arrived at their destination and alighted from the car.
According to the prosecution, the four accused persons assaulted the victims and forced them into their vehicle amid shooting. They then sped off with the victims to their hide out where they kept the victims in an uncompleted building at Kenyasi Krobo, a surburb of Kumasi, guarded by Elvis and Jeff.
She told the Court that, Sampson contacted the victims' families in Canada and began to negotiate a ransom of $800,000.
In order to create an impression to their families that they had been seriously tortured, the four accused persons smeared blood all over the victims and on the floor of the building.
They took pictures of the blood-soaked victims and forwarded same to their families in Canada to compel them to pay the ransom of $800,000.
Mrs Craig said on June 11, a National Security team headed by Col Michael Opoku acting on intelligence arrested Yusif and proceeded to arrest Sampson, Elvis, and Jeff from their hideouts at Kenyasi-Krobo.
During the rescue mission, Elvis and Jeff threatened to kill the victims if the security agents dared them. They exchanged fire with the security agents until they were over powered and arrested.
The two others, Abdul Nasir and Seidu were subsequently arrested when they were mentioned by the four accused persons as having taken part in the plan to kidnap the victims.