A 40-year-old man has found himself at the wrong side of the law for allegedly abducting a 14-year-old girl and possessing military accoutrement without authority.
Anthony Cofie, a private security man and self-acclaimed coach, was alleged to have camped the teenager (name withheld) at his Teshie home under the guise of training her and other girls to play football for two weeks.
According to the story, confirmed by DSP Margaret Sapati-Agbemabiese, the head of the Nungua Divisional Command Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), the girl, who lives with her grandmother, was sent by the grandmother to buy tomatoes at a nearby shop on December 23, 2011 at around 12 noon but failed to return.
With efforts to locate her in the neighbourhood proving futile, the parents conducted further searches at La and James Town where the girl's parents hail from without success.
The disturbed parents then reported the matter to the Sakumono Police Station for assistance and also made announcements on Adom FM and Radio Gold, a Tema and Accra-based radio stations respectively.
A few days later on January 9, 2012, however, the girl was brought home by two persons. When questioned, the girl said she was sitting in front of a nearby shop when Cofie, who is popularly known as Shakapito, approached her that he was a coach and a soldier and asked her to follow him to his house for football lessons which she obliged.
At the house, the girl said she met many other girls of her age and Cofie offered them some alcoholic drinks, but she refused to take them.
He then brought her Coca Cola which she drank and fell asleep, only to wake up and find Cofie lying beside her.
According to the girl, throughout the period of her stay at the house, Cofie usually locked them up with a padlock outside and kept the key in a Bible by the window while warning them never to go out.
But whenever they wanted to attend the call of nature, they pleaded with the landlord's daughter or any passers-by and passed the key through the trap door for the door to be opened from behind.
The landlord's daughter, she stated, sometimes gave them leftover food when they were hungry, adding that Cofie mostly came home at dawn and frequently took them to a park for jogging where he allegedly fondled her breasts and those of the other girls.
The teenager later led her family to Cofie's house but he was not at home. From there, they proceeded to the house of one of the girls who said she took a photograph of Cofie.
After receiving the photograph from the youngster, Cofie was spotted by the roadside and was arrested through the help of some young men before being sent to the Nungua Police Station.
DSP Sapati-Agbemabiese said during interrogation, Cofie admitted camping the girls but said they usually came to sleep at the house a day before their training.
She said she then recommended that the girl be sent to hospital for a medical check-up to ascertain whether she was defiled.
"The medical report indicated that she was not defiled so we had to allow him bail, since the law does not permit us to hold him beyond 48 hours," she said.
A team of investigators dispatched to Cofie's house found four pairs of military boots, a pair of military camouflage shorts, one Motorola radio set popularly known as 'walkie-talkie,' a green military look-alike bag and a locally manufactured pistol.
According to DSP Joe Oppong, the Divisional Crime Officer of the Nungua Divisional Police, initial investigations indicated that Cofie had never been a soldier but paraded himself as a military officer in his community.
When asked how he got the items, Cofie told the police that he got the military accoutrement from his military friends but he had the pistol from his deceased father.
In that regard, DSP Oppong said Cofie would be put before court on charges of possessing firearms without authority, possessing military accoutrement without authority and impersonation.
He will also face abduction charge being pressed by DOVVSU on Monday.
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