'Police yet to receive directive to interdict 21 officers'
The government has recommended to the Ghana Police Service to interdict 21 policemen who were allegedly involved in the killing of seven young men at Manso Nkwanta in the Ashanti Region for suspected armed robbery.
The recommendation by the government for their interdiction follows a report submitted by a fact-finding committee, which cleared the deceased of any crime.
A statement signed by the Information Minister, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, and issued in Accra yesterday said the 21 policemen would also be subjected to formal police criminal investigations for their role in the shooting incident that sparked chaotic protests in parts of Asawasi in the Ashanti Region.
The statement did not mention the names of the policemen to be interdicted.
According to the statement, there were no facts before the committee to establish that the deceased persons were armed robbers who engaged in exchange of fire with the police.
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Among the deceased were Musah Seidu, aka Baban Kande; Mohammed Bashir Musah, aka Soja; Mohammed Kamal, aka Tanko, and Baa Bont, aka Freeboy.
The statement said the government, in consultation with the families and community leaders, would provide support for the dependants of the deceased persons.
The government, therefore, assured the public that due process would be followed in the pursuit of justice and called for continued calm and patience, pending a conclusive determination of the matter.
The statement by the government is expected to calm tension in the Zongo community, where the delay in the release of the report had caused some suspicion among the families of the deceased and community leaders.
The Zongo community in Kumasi had, in the past, had cause to complain about perceived stereotyping that had led to the killing of multiple Zongo youth over the past few months by the police.
Claims and reaction
On Tuesday, July 17, 2018, some policemen in the Ashanti Region gunned down seven persons who they claimed to be armed robbers at Manso Nkwanta.
The killings prompted widespread calls for a full-scale investigation by some Zongo chiefs and civil society organisations.
The Ashanti Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Kwasi Duku, at a news conference, displayed seven boxes, with each containing 25 rounds of ammunition, 88 pieces of ammunition of AK 47 assault rifles and some clothes that were retrieved from the suspected armed robbers.
But the relatives and friends of the deceased rejected the claims by the police and called for investigations into the matter, to which the government responded by instituting a fact-finding committee to probe the killings.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, subsequently inaugurated a five-member committee to independently investigate the circumstances that led to the killing of the seven suspected robbers at Manso Nkwanta.
The members of the fact-finding committee were Justice Obeng Diawuo, a justice of the High Court; Rt Rev. Professor Osei-Sarfo Kantanka, a bishop of the Methodist Church; Sheikh Ahmed Seidu, Executive Secretary, Office of the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Mr David Adu Osei, Ashanti Regional BNI Commander, and Mrs Emelia Ayebenu Botchway, acting Ashanti Regional Coordinating Director.
They were not robbers
The Head of the Police Public Affairs Directorate, ACP David Eklu, told the Daily Graphic that the Police Administration was yet to receive a communication from the Ministry of the Interior in respect of the recommendation for the interdiction of the personnel.
“We are also just hearing about the Information Minister’s statement for the first time, but no directive or communication has come from either the Inspector-General of Police or the Minister for the Interior,” he said.