Justice Koomson urges military to avoid using live bullets to disperse crowd

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The security agencies have been urged not to resort to the use of live bullets to control crowd when there are riots.

The appeal was made by Justice George Kingsley Koomson, an Appeals Court judge, who is chair of the three-member committee probing the disturbances that occurred in Ejura in the Ashanti Region.

During the committee’s sitting yesterday, he recommended to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to apply for plastic bullets to use in controlling crowd in the country.

He made the call when the General Officer Commander, Central Command, Brigadier General Josephs Aphour, appeared before the committee.

“I think the military should put in application for plastic bullets. We are talking about human lives; don’t be applying for live bullets,” Justice Kingsley Koomson stressed.

Media

The chair of the committee also said the media must accept criticisms from other members of the Ghanaian society.

He said just as the media have the right to criticise, others also do have the same right to subject their work to scrutiny.

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His said this after the Battalion Commander, Lt Col Kwasi Ware Peprah, had said no media house had spoken to him on the disturbances that occurred in Ejura, even though several reports had been filed about the disturbances.

“As we speak, no media house has spoken to me as the Battalion Commander,” he said.

Lt Col Kwasi Ware Peprah further told the committee that the aim of the military was not to kill anybody during the upheaval.

“There was no plan to kill anyone during the Ejura disturbances. The aim was not to kill, it was just unfortunate. If the aim was to kill, then hundred people would have died,” he said.

Military base

Also appearing before the committee, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP David Agyemang Adjem, suggested that building a high-powered security station close to the Ejura Sekyeredumase Municipal Assembly would help control the re-occurrence of such disturbances.

He noted that aside from the area being known for a number of indiscriminate protests, it is also a hot spot during elections.

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“Deploying men from our regional headquarters here in Kumasi to Ejura might take about an hour and a half or two hours for them to get there. And time happens to be our greatest enemy in restoring calm and protecting life and property. There have been instances where the Ejura Police Station alone could not tackle the problems – which this current one is no exception, hence the need for reinforcement. So, I think a military base or a police headquarters would do,” he said.

Security intelligence

DCOP Agyemang Adjem said the intelligence gathered by the Police indicated that there would be a potential attack on the Ejura Police Station, the residence of the Municipal Chief Executive, government installations and other public property.

He confirmed that the angry youth later attacked a revenue check point, where the collected revenue was stolen, vandalised a police vehicle and three other cars parked at the station and other property.

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“On 29th June, the late Kaaka’s family requested for a police protection during the burial of the victim. However, the youth started pelting the police vehicle with stones and we then retreated to the station. So, we requested for a reinforcement from the Regional Police Head Office where an Operation Calm Life vehicle came to help calm the situation since they were massing up. Immediately they saw the military, they continued throwing anything they laid their hands on,” DCOP Agyemang Adjem added.

Three suspects

He further told the committee that a district court at Asokwa had remanded into police custody the three suspects linked to the killing of Ibrahim Mohammed, aka Macho Kaaka, whose death and burial caused the protest on June 29 at Ejura, leading to the death of two others.

The suspects, Isaka Ibrahim, aka Anyas, Fuseini Alhassan and Idi Mohammed have been charged with conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, murder and murder, and would appear before court for the second time on July 22.

 

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