Armed policemen on Saturday stormed the premises of the Central Assemblies of God in Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital and fired warning shots to ward off rampaging youth who had come to witness the wedding ceremony of their colleague at the church, after the officiating pastor had allegedly incurred their displeasure, leading to a row with the pastor.
The action of the police was said to have brought the wedding ceremony to an abrupt end as relations, pastors and friends at the church reportedly ran helter-skelter for dear life.
The enthusiastic friends who had come from Adawso, near Koforidua and Koforidua, in their exuberance chanted the name of their colleague, Dennis Ofosu Sarpong, who was wedding one Joyce Antwi of the church and said they were going to ‘initiate’ him into manhood with ‘ponding’ but the pastor officiating the wedding, Rev Alexander Amankwa, said he would not allow this to happen in his church.
The friends of the groom were said to have been enraged by the insistence of the pastor that he would not allow the ‘ponding’, leading to exchange of words between Rev Amankwa and the groom’s friends.
Rev Amankwa was said to have ordered the security personnel at the church to drive the angry youth away but after leaving temporarily, they decided to come back, resulting in the commotion outside the church.
He then called in the police who, after arriving and seeing the rampaging youth forcing their way into the church, fired warning shots, bringing proceedings in the church to an abrupt end.
When the bridegroom was contacted by DAILY GUIDE, he accused the police of handling the situation unprofessionally; thus seriously affecting his wedding ceremony.
“I believe the pastor officiating the wedding ceremony was also too rigid because my friends were only saying they would pond me not at the church premises but at our reception,” he said, adding that he knew his friends would do it and was therefore psychologically prepared for that.
He noted that they had just finished exchanging vows when the incident happened.
“We heard warning shots outside the church and everybody was wondering what was happening and started running for our dear lives,” he said.
According to him, his wife had been deeply worried about the incident and cried all day yesterday. “Our honeymoon has been thrown out of gear and all of us are in trauma,” he indicated.
When DAILY GUIDE contacted the pastor, he refused to comment on the incident, saying the police had been tasked to investigate the matter. According to him, at the appropriate time he would call a press conference and tell his side of the story.
When the deputy regional crime officer, ASP Stephen Akowuah, was contacted by DAILY GUIDE, he said the groom’s friends were bent on disrupting the wedding ceremony; therefore some policemen in mufti were deployed there to calm the situation but the rampaging youth engaged them in a fight.
“The people who were mostly drunk tore off the shirt of one of our men and were fighting with him so another policeman on duty at a near-by bank saw the commotion and went there to give a warning shot to ward off the rampaging youth,” he told DAILY GUIDE.
He said reinforcement of armed policemen was called in to bring the situation under control. According to him, three people were arrested but later released because they were found not to be related to the incident.