The Upper West Regional Police Command has mounted an operation to arrest and prosecute a gang which mounted a fake police post, made arrests and imposed fines on its suspects.
In some instances, the gang also allegedly convicted its victims to various sentences, including lashes.
A case has been lodged against members of the gang which operated under the guise of a watchdog committee in the Fielmuo community in the Sissala West District in the Upper West Region.
The police say charges of assault, battery and causing unlawful harm await them.
One of their victims is currently bedridden after more than 100 lashes left serious bruises on his back.
The victim, Cletus Victor, was charged for stealing a goat, and subsequently chained to a tree before enduring the lashes that have left him in severe pain.
The police unit in the community has assisted him to access medical treatment but he remains confined to bed due to the severity of his condition.
The Pubic Relations Officer of the Regional Police Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr Joy Afagbedzi, told the Daily Graphic that the gang and the quasi police post had been disbanded since they lacked authorisation.
He said members of the illegal watchdog committee had been requested to report to the district police command to assist with investigations.
Indeed, there are suspicions of targeted violence against rival community members in view of a long-standing land dispute between Fielmuo and neighbouring community Nimoro.
That dispute has sometimes escalated into violent clashes, but police vigilance has toned down the open animosity in recent times.
Mr Afagbedzi said the two communities separately requested for the formation and inauguration of watchdog committees in their respective communities.
He added that the police had informed them of the strict requirements for setting up a watchdog committee, including a thorough scrutiny of the backgrounds of the proposed members.
He said before the police could act on the requests, some youth of Fielmuo turned a residential property into a quasi police station where supposed criminals were sent, charged for offences and sentences passed for the ascribed crimes.
Mr Afagbedzi said even under the watchdog practice, committee members did not have the power to administer justice or to subject alleged criminals to abuse, battery or any other manhandling.
He noted that in any case, members of that gang were not recognised and, therefore, were not authorised to dispense justice in any form.
Credit: graphic. com.gh