One of the victims of the Ashaiman military operation, which was sanctioned by GAF high command
One of the victims of the Ashaiman military operation, which was sanctioned by GAF high command

Refrain from meting out extra-judicial justice - Mahama on military-Ashaiman incident

Former President John Dramani Mahama has urged the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to ensure that the military refrain from meting out extra-judicial justice.

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Commenting on the Ashaiman incident following the killing of a soldier - Sherrif Imoro, and the subsequent release of soldiers into the Ashaiman area by the Military High Command to go and fish out the perpetrators, Mr Mahama urged the military to exercise restraint and allow due process to investigate, apprehend and punish.

The operation by the military has been described as abusive as some innocent people who found themselves in the area were beaten by personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) who stormed the area at dawn Tuesday and allegedly attacked residents.

According to eyewitnesses, the armed soldiers stormed the community and attacked residents, arrested some of them following the killing of a soldier last Saturday.

Mahama's statement

"I am deeply saddened by the death of one of our soldiers, at such a young age, in Ashaiman," Mr Mahama said in his statement issued Wednesday evening.

"Lordina and I extend our deepest condolences to his bereaved and grieving family, and the officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces."

"As your former Commander in Chief, I do appreciate how such unexpected deaths affect the Force."

"However, I encourage you to exercise restraint and allow due process to investigate, apprehend, prosecute and punish the perpetrator(s) of the dastardly act.

Mr Mahama said there were obviously many people who live and work in Ashaiman who are innocent of this heinous crime.

"The military must, therefore, refrain from meting out extra-judicial justice to them," he added.

"I also sympathise with the victims of of the torture in Ashaiman as a result of this unfolding death of a serving soldier.

"I pray we find peace and harmony in our dear country, as the government and state institutions immediately step in to address this potentially inflammatory development between Ashaiman and the Ghana Armed Forces; including providing commensurate compensation for all persons affected, he added.

Ashaiman operation was sanctioned by Military High Command, 184 suspects in custody

The Ghana Armed Forces has explained that Tuesday’s operation at Ashaiman following the killing of a soldier, 21-year-old Sherrif Imoro was sanctioned by the Military High Command.

In a statement issued Wednesday (Mar 8, 2023) dawn, the GAF said the motive was not to avenge the killing of the soldier but rather to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Following the operations at Ashaiman-Taifa and Tulaku in the Greater Accra Region, the military personnel picked up about 184 suspects aged between 21 and 47 years old and have since handed them over to the Military Police and subsequently to be sent to the Ghana Police Service for screening and for further action, the GAF said in the statement.

One of the victims of the Ashaiman military operation, which was sanctioned by GAF high command and 184 suspects in custody 

“During the course of the swoop, the personnel seized 29 slabs and 57 mini slabs of suspected indian hemp and amnesia among other forms of the narcotics,” the statement from the GAF signed by Brigadier General E. Aggrey-Quashie, Director General of Public Relations of the GAF said.

 

“The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) also wishes to place on record that the swoop was not targeted at innocent civilians but was an intelligence–led operation conducted on suspected hideouts of criminals and crime-prone areas in the general area,” he added.

“GAF however acknowledges that regrettably some innocent persons might have been caught up in the operation and consequently suffered some distress due to the location they found themselves at the time,” it added.

“GAF accordingly wishes to urge the general public to provide useful information, support the security agencies in weeding out criminals and miscreants from our communities and to desist from shielding and conniving with such suspects in order to curb criminal activities in the country,” GAF added.

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What happened

The soldier who was allegedly killed by a mob at Ashaiman Taifa last Saturday, has been identified as 21-year-old Sherrif Imoro.

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He was a member of the Ghana Armed Forces Band, a trumpeter and was stationed at Sunyani in the Bono Region.

He was in Accra for a military course and in the last three weeks, had been visiting the parents in their home at Ashaiman every Friday.

Last Friday would have been the third time he was going home and was reportedly confronted by a gang who killed him.

Sheriff Imoro
The late Sherrif Imoro

Sherrif Imoro

Sherrif Imoro was born at Ashaiman on June 3, 2001, according to his father - Awudu Imoro.

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He enrolled in the Ghana Armed Forces in October 2021, was trained at Daboya and was posted to Sunyani after passing out.

According to his father, he had his primary and junior high school education at Ashaiman and senior high school at Akwamuman SHS and completed in 2017.

Slain soldier incident

Last Friday, he was on his way home and there was heavy traffic in the area, so he alighted at Ashaiman Taifa near the court building.

It was around that area that he met his death at the hands of his attackers.

Some reports suggest the gang mistook him to be a robber.

Father's narrative

Explaining the circumstances and giving a brief background about his son, the father, Awudu Imoro said in early January this year, Sherrif phoned his mother and informed the family that he was going to be in Accra in the first week of February for a course.

Sherrif according to the father told them that when he arrived in Accra, he will get the opportunity to visit them in the house on a Friday, and so in the last three weeks, he had been coming home every Friday.

Military arrests

On Tuesday afternoon it came out that more than 72 people had been arrested and taken into custody by the soldiers who stormed Ashaiman Tuesday dawn.

The Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Henry Norgbey, said he had been informed that the soldiers took the people they arrested away.

The MP said the soldiers after the dawn operation left the area, the soldiers had left but around midday, he received a phone call that another batch of military men had trooped into the Ashaiman constituency.

"Actually I spoke to the police commander and he told me on authority that there are military guys still in the constituency, all over the constituency molesting innocent residents," he said. 

He said the constituents were worried about the modus operandi of the military, "because you see armoured cars, you see military vehicles, you see helicopters, which means that this thing has been sanctioned by the higher authority and so everybody is handicapped in this matter.

"So we are just calling on them to call back their men to the barracks because these people that they are molesting, they are innocent people, I'm not sure they know anything about the killing of the military guy," the MP said.

Ashaiman: Soldiers beat up civilians after alleged mob killing of soldier

The Ashaiman neighbourhood of Taifa was on Tuesday dawn forced into a self-imposed curfew after some soldiers reportedly stormed the area, following the alleged killing of a soldier over the weekend.

The soldier was reportedly killed by a mob in Ashaiman at the weekend.

Photos and video of the said soldier was shared on social media after the incident.

Some reports said he was attacked and stabbed by a gang. The soldier was reportedly on his way to his family home.

Soldiers reaction

On Tuesday dawn (March 7, 2023), some soldiers numbering not less than 20 stormed the area.

They questioned anyone they came across and reportedly beat them up.

This forced people to lock themselves up in their homes, fearing they will be beaten up by the soldiers.

Some eyewitnesses have recounted their experience on social media.

Some said they saw the soldiers around 2am.

One person said he woke up around 4am to see that the area which was usually busy around that time with many shops opened was still very quiet.

His assumption was that it was as a result of the downpour but when he stepped out, he saw some soldiers on the stretch, there were no vehicles moving.

He saw soldiers approaching so he quickly rushed back into the house and locked the gate.

He said his brother later told him he woke up earlier and saw soldiers beating up some other people.

"My mother owns a shop by the roadside and should have been opened by now but as we speak, all shops are still closed," he said.

He said he saw that vehicles passing by were stopped, male passengers dragged out and beaten up, "you people kill our colleague", some of the soldiers reportedly said.

Another eyewitness said the said soldiers knocked on doors and anybody who came out allegedly received some slaps.

The Assemblyman for the area reportedly sent out a message advising residents to avoid certain routes.

He said he counted not less that 20 armed soldiers on foot, who were 

What happened with mob killing of soldier?

The incident of the mob killing of the soldier received varied reactions at the weekend.

Some had alleged that the young soldier was on his way to his home when he was attacked by a gang.

Some had alleged that he was stabbed to death by the mob.

Photos from the incident scene showed the lifeless body of the victim, who was in what seemed to be a torn trousers in military camouflage colours.

His military cap and a white cloth had been used to cover his face. Also, his bag in military camouflage colours was lying close to the body.

The Ghana Police and the Ghana Armed Forces are yet to comment on the incident.

2017 Denkyira-Obuasi incident

In 2017, a similar incident happened at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region where during a morning health walk, a military officer, Major Maxwell Mahama was killed by a mob.

Below is a copy of the GAF statement 

MILITARY CONDUCTS SWOOP AT ASHAIMAN TARGETED AT KILLERS OF YOUNG SOLDIER

Personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) on Tuesday 7 March 2023, conducted a swoop in Ashaiman and its environs in a man-hunt for some criminals, who are suspected to have stabbed and killed a young soldier (Trooper Imoro Sherrif) in the early hours of Saturday 4 March 2023, at Ashaiman-Taifa.

Trooper Sherrif, who was stationed in Sunyani, was in Accra on a Course and had sought permission to visit his parents at Ashaiman where he grew up, but was found in a pool of blood in the early hours of Saturday near the Amania Hotel in Ashaiman.

GAF wishes to state categorically that the military operation, which was sanctioned by the Military High Command, was NOT to avenge the killing of the soldier but rather to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Following the operations at Ashaiman-Taifa and Tulaku, the military personnel picked up about 184 suspects aged between 21 and 47 years old and have since handed them over to the Military Police and subsequently to be sent to the Ghana Police Service for screening and for further action.

During the course of the swoop, the personnel seized 29 slabs and 57 mini slabs of suspected indian hemp and amnesia among other forms of the narcotics.

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) also wishes to place on record that the swoop was not targeted at innocent civilians but was an intelligence–led operation conducted on suspected hideouts of criminals and crime-prone areas in the general area.

GAF however acknowledges that regrettably some innocent persons might have been caught up in the operation and consequently suffered some distress due to the location they found themselves at the time.

GAF accordingly wishes to urge the general public to provide useful information, support the security agencies in weeding out criminals and miscreants from our communities and to desist from shielding and conniving with such suspects in order to the curb criminal activities in the country.

Writer's email: [email protected] 

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