Atikpui, a farming community near the Volta regional capital, Ho, was thrown into a state of shock on Saturday 2nd February 2013 when the dead body of one Felix Kofi Amegatse, a 39 -year old radio repairer, was found lying on a river bed with its crystal clear shallow waters running atop his lifeless body. He is believed to have been murdered and his body dumped in the river in an attempt to conceal the crime.
The body has since been retrieved and deposited at the Ho Central Morgue.
The chiefs and people of the community have ruled out the possibility of drowning or suicide, as they believe Felix was gruesomely murdered and his body dumped in the river by his killers in order to fake a scenario of drowning on the part of the dead man as a cover up. They are incensed with the idea that the alleged killers think the community could be fooled into believing that the man got drowned in the shallow water of the river that could be easily crossed by even a toddler.
Three persons, including the wife of the deceased, are suspected by the community to be responsible for his death. Two Beninois sisters, his own wife, Benedicta Abalu and Regina Abalu, were handed over to the police through a citizens' arrest but later granted bail, much to the chagrin of the chief and people who strongly believe they must answer for Felix's untimely death and thus must be held by the police considering the magnitude of the crime they are being accused of. The third suspect, one Kokutse, the man with whom Benedicta was allegedly having an extramarital affair has vanished into thin air, The Catalyst has learnt.
The police have incurred the wrath of some within the community who say they are unhappy with the way the case is being handled since they fear the suspects could walk free. They are accusing the police of showing indifference, suggesting that the fact that Kokutse is on the run is enough to ring a bell about his likely involvement in something untoward, and that they expected the police to be more proactive in their investigation.
They suspect that Felix's alleged murder occurred as a result of an alleged infidelity by his wife, Benedicta Abalu with Kokutse.
An uncle of the deceased, Mr Charles Dusu, told The Catalyst that two days before his dead body was found in the river, the late Felix met his wife and Kokutse, who he had long suspected to be her lover in her sister's room. Moved by anger and jealousy, he confronted them and in the process, got beaten up severely by his alleged rival together with his wife and her sister, who teamed up to give him the beating of his life. He, according to Mr Dusu, was then threatened not to ever step foot in the house again or they would kill him if he defied their threat.
The Catalyst has learnt that the deceased and his wife lived apart. Whilst he lived in his house, his wife lived together with her sister in a different location and that he used to go to his wife's place to get his food among others. It was, according to the narration, on one of those conjugal visits on 31st January 2013 that he ran into his alleged rival, resulting in a confrontation that led to his being mercilessly beaten and warned not to step foot in the house again.
Mr Dusu said one Raphael Anku, popularly known as Agee, found the dead body of Felix in the river around 9:30pm, two days after the fight between him and the suspects when, according to him, he went to take his bath in the river that night. This, Mr Dusu said sounds wired since it is a taboo for anyone to bath in the river at night according to the custom of the village, more so at that odd hour.
He said upon hearing the news, a delegation was sent by the chiefs who confirmed the veracity of the story. Subsequently, the case was reported to the Tokokoe police and the body was later retrieved.
Mr. Dusu said the two sister-suspects attempted to escape but were apprehended by some youth in the village and judging from their demeanour, they were accused of having a hand in the alleged murder. He said the accused pleaded with the townsfolk for the case to be settled amicably at home, and that they were ready to bear the total cost of the funeral and burial rites but the people rejected their plea.
He disclosed that the chiefs went ahead to hand over Regina and Benedicta to the Police, expecting a thorough investigation into the matter whiles the alleged lover boy and accomplice, Kokutse, a labourer with a construction firm in the area, vanished into thin air and has since been at large.
Some members of the bereaved family are accusing the police of displaying lack of interest in the case. They claim the police have so far done everything possible to frustrate the bereaved family and they fear the alleged killers of their son would walk free if the police do not change their current lackadaisical attitude towards the case.
Meanwhile, Police Inspector Godwin Kutani of the Tokokoe Police Station confirmed the incident to The Catalyst by phone. He told this reporter that the case was reported as drowning since the body was found in water adding that investigations are still ongoing. He said the two suspects were granted bail pending further investigation.
The police inspector when contacted yesterday said that the autopsy to ascertain the actual cause of the death was conducted Saturday 16th March but said he could not disclose its content to the paper immediately.