Suspects emerge in theft of Ghanaian king's jewels in Norway14 oct. 2012
King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II had headgear and rings stolen Wednesday on his business trip in Oslo. The briefcase holding them was snatched in the lobby of the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, which prompted speculation he might be dethroned.
Backtracking, representatives for Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, king of the Ashanti people of Ghana, center, have downplayed the theft of his jewelry after calling it “a great loss.” They have also dismissed speculation that the loss of the symbolically important items could see him dethroned.
Police in Norway released pictures Saturday of a man and woman suspected in the heist of a Ghanaian king’s ancestral crown jewels.
One of the images — which seems to be from security camera footage — shows a woman in a headscarf carrying a bag out of Oslo’s Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. A second shows a man in glasses and a hat carrying a large sack out of the same venue, the AFP reported.
The stolen jewels were accompanying King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II — in Oslo on a business trip — when the briefcase holding them was snatched in the lobby of the Blu Plaza Hotel on Wednesday.
Tutu is a member of the Ashanti royal family, which has historically used gold jewelry to represent power and spiritual meaning in public engagements.
The theft set off a wave speculation in Ghana that Tutu might be dethroned because of the incident, as kings of the Ashanti people have historically sat on golden seats when crowned, ABC reported.
Responding to these rumors, the king’s representatives tried to downplay the severity of the theft.
“It’s not such a big deal as people are speculating,” Secretary Kofi Owusu Boateng told the BBC, adding that only headgear and some rings were stolen.
This message differed quite a bit from the secretary’s earlier statements, which described the incident as a “great loss.”
Norwegian law enforcement told the media soon after Wednesday’s theft that it had “good” closed-circuit television footage and was working to identify suspects.
Saturday’s release represents at least some progress in that investigation.
Having been on the throne since 1999, Tutu is the leader of one of Ghana’s largest ethnic groups. Despite his symbolic importance, he does not play a role in the country’s politics.
For their part, Norwegian officials seemed embarrassed about the incident.
"As hosts for His Majesty, we are terribly sorry about this," leader of the Norwegian-African Business Association Eivind Fjeldstad told Norway’s VG Nett news publication.
Source: NY Daily news