Ghana's Ashanti crown jewels stolen in Norway hotel

King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (centre) File photo King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II ascended the throne in 1999

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Police in Norway are investigating the theft of some of the Ghanaian Ashanti crown jewels from a hotel in Oslo.

The jewels were travelling with King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the ruler of the Ashanti, who is representing Ghana at a conference in the Norwegian capital.

A suitcase was snatched from the lobby of the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel.

The jewels, amassed over generations and considered to be priceless, are used by the king when he performs ceremonial duties.

Police are quoted in the Norwegian media as saying that they have "good" surveillance pictures, and are now trying to identify suspects in the footage.

"Anyone carrying something of great personal value will understand what a great loss it is when it is stolen," the king's secretary Kofi Owusu Boateng was quoted as saying.

"And for anyone who knows our tradition it will be clear that these crown jewels have tremendous value."

However, he later told the BBC's Newsday programme it was "not such a big deal" and that only some rings and headgear were taken.

King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II ascended the throne in 1999 as the 16th ruler, or Asantehene.

The Asantehene is a revered figurehead for Ghana's largest ethnic group. He adjudicates in disputes and is closely involved in local issues.

However the king - like other traditional leaders - is barred by the constitution from taking part in Ghanaian politics.

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