Kwame Ato Asare Ani is the name currently dominating the media space in Ghana following events around a viral video in which he and a group of men were captured in a heated confrontation with some police officers.
The police have since labeled him as the leader of a criminal group and has put him on a wanted list even though Ani, speaking to some media houses from a hideout has denied the allegation.
The Western Regional Correspondent for Despite Media, Seth Mantey visited Gwira Kwakukrom where the 22-year-old resides and has provided a report about Ani as told by residents of the town.
According to his report, Kwame Asare is a known leader of a gang whose main occupation is terrorising residents and members of the community especially small-scale miners.
As corroborated by Ani in his engagement with the media, his gang goes about collecting monies from owners of galamsey sites on behalf of the police.
While the residents confirmed Ani’s association with the police in the area, the report by Seth Mantey further painted a picture of the ruthless terrorism perpetrated by Ani and his gang.
“When we got to the town the residents inquired from us whether we are police officers or not. They were not going to speak to us if we are the police because even when they report Ato and his gang to the police for any crime, their details are later given out to him by the police and he comes to attack and threaten them with guns and machetes,” the reporter said.
Ani in his attempt to claim innocence on the police allegations of leading a robbery gang claimed that he has no need to engage in crime as he is gainfully employed.
But the residents of Kwakukrom disagreed.
“I asked if he is from the town and what work he does. I was told he is indeed from the town and his father is the Asafoatse of the town. He is not gainfully employed but has rather formed a gang in the town. The residents confirmed his claim that he was indeed working with the police in the area…
“His gang goes from one galamsey site to another. If they come to you and you don’t hand over your money or gold you will have trouble with them.
“His work is that he visits the galamsey sites to make demands including asking for your mined gold and when you refuse he can shoot you or butcher you. So whenever he returns he comes back with a stash of cash and gold,” the reporter stated.
Beyond terrorising illegal miners, Kwame Ani is also said have engaged in various criminal activities including rape and assault.
“Kwame Asare took his wife’s younger sister, a 13-year-old in class 6 on a motorbike to the outskirts of town where he raped the girl at gunpoint. I was shown the hospital report. When he was reported to the police, the police later revealed details of the case and the identity of the complainant to him and he went ahead to threaten the grandmother of the girl. There was once a funeral in a town where Kwame Ato went and seized people’s mobile phones and shot someone in the back of his head. He also butchered someone who is now unable to stretch his arm,” the reporter stated.
A viral video showed a gang of men confronting a group of police officers for purportedly seeking to arrest their leader.
Identified in a statement later released by the police as Kwame Ani Asare, the gang leader accused the police officers of seeking to arrest him after paying them a bribe.
Amidst threats, one of the officers is seen in the video going on his knees to plead with the gang leader.
The Ghana Police Service said it received a report on March 28, 2023, that a group of officers from the Axim Police Command had been attacked by the gang in question.
The police stated that it conducted an operation which has led t
However speaking to some media houses from a hideout, the gang leader said he was no robber but an informant who has been collecting money from small scale miners and delivering to the police.
According to him, the attempt by the police to arrest him is on the back of his refusal to hand over some GH ₵100,000.00 he had collected from a galamsey site to the police.
He noted that the refusal to hand over the money is a result of the police cheating him out in various previous deals, the arrest of four members of the gang while the leader, Kwame Ani remains at large and on their wanted list.