- West Africa
- Unusual - Crime
Desperate grave looters now stealing coffins
The final words to the dead after burial is for them to "Rest in Peace". But for the dead lying in Accra’s public cemeteries, they neither have rest nor peace.
Criminals have made it a point to be disturbing their perpetual sleep, as they loot their graves, collecting anything from beads through jewellery and rings, and in some cases coffins.
Now, the Metro Health Department of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly is advising families not to bury their dead with any valuables, as grave looting, which was noticed in the early 1980s has increased.
The Chief Environmental Health Officer of the Assembly, Mr James Aryeetey, was quoted by the state-owned Graphic newspaper on Wednesday as saying as a result of inadequate security and lighting, the cemeteries have become hideouts for criminals.
They also use drugs and plan criminal activities at these places. "Currently there is no form of security, not even a security man," he said.
The supervisor of the Sextons Department, Alhaji Annan, said the whole Awudome cemetery, was in "a mess" as a result of the looting.
He said the criminals looted old corpses after removing new ones buried on top of them.
Alhaji Annan said sextons sometimes found beads scattered around the looted graves and therefore, suspected that the looters could be looking for some special beads, which they sold to their clients.
The looting, he stated, started in 1983 but has become very serious in recent times, But with no casualties expected from the cemeteries, the attention of security services may not be in that direction.
In the meantime, the criminals would continue to disturb the peace of the dead. Panapress.