On Good Friday, an Easter Convention at the Heaven Embassy Chapel was disrupted by four armed men who blocked three entries to the church auditorium.
Over seventy people, mostly indigenes of Atwima Afrancho, were held hostage for about thirty minutes as the robbers demanded their personal belongings.
“All we heard was an order for the lights to be put off. On the third command, they shot into the congregation. The shots fired injured some children here but we didn’t know. One of the robbers started walking through the church auditorium, taking money and phones of congregants”, Prophet Bernard Appiah Fobi, one of the preachers invited for the event explained.
He narrates some persons were beaten mercilessly, “a pregnant woman and husband were beaten mercilessly. An old man was also beaten because he could give them just 10 cedis.
The church is situated on the outskirts of the community, a part with new buildings under construction.
The Easter Convention had brought many to the church for the first time.
Maame Ama, a ten-year-old, has undergone a surgical operation to correct the injury on the leg sustained through the shootings.
Rev. Newton explains she was shot in both legs.
“Her leg got broken, a bullet went through the leg. It was very dangerous. It took us a lot of courage to carry her to the hospital. We all thought the leg would be severed”, he said.
About two hundred metres from the church lives twelve-year-old Juliana Amankwaah. She sits on a bench, surrounded by her family.
Just below the knee, a bandage covers the injury sustained from the shooting.
“When I touched it I could feel my flesh, it was a deep wound. The skin was off, as if it has been bitten by an animal”, little Juliana narrates.
Her mother, a farmer, is forced to abandon her daily routine on the farm to cater for her distraught daughter.
Abena Konadu, who was also at the church, is traumatized by the incident.
“I would have gone to the farm to find some food for my kids, due to the injury she sustained I can’t leave her. In the evening, I feel they are going to come back. I am afraid”, she said.
From the toe to the thigh, 13-year-old Angelina Obeng is wrapped in bandage rendering her immobile.
Pellets of bullets were picked from the wound sustained from the shooting.
After being shot, Angelina had to run a distance through the bushes for fear that the robbers were lurking around.
“Immediately the robbers left, someone raised an alarm that they were coming back so we all run into the bush. I further sustained some injuries”, she said.
Her grandmother, Margaret Opoku is traumatized and worried about how to cater for the injured granddaughter.
“Her mother died eight months ago so she is stuck with me. Her father hasn’t been here for a long time”, she said.
Mother of seven, Christiana Agyei sits in front of her room with her in-law, Rashida Issaka. Both are victims of the incident. Rashida is three months pregnant.
She says aside from the injury sustained through the shooting, she feels a sharp pain throughout her body after a man fell on her in the rush to carry through orders of the armed robbers.
“After we were shot, they ordered us to lie down. Unfortunately for me, I fell and some people fell on me. That is what has affected me. The wound I sustained from the gun shots isn’t that bad”, she said.
Christiana has to put her kenkey business on hold to heal her injury on one leg.
“Whenever I am alone, I feel their presence. I am afraid”, she said.
An amount of over five thousand cedis have gone into medical bills, all paid by the church.
But the church may not be able to raise more money to cater for the affected persons.
Meanwhile, Atwima Kwanwoma District Police Command is investigating the incident.