The District Chief Executive for Kwabre East in the Ashanti Region has backed claims by residents of Kenyase alleging police brutalities in a demonstration against poor road network.
The DCE Iddissah Adams, expressed shock at the turn of events in what started as a peaceful demonstration organized by residents and drivers in his area.
The residents had earlier notified the police as stated in the Public Order Act, to demonstrate against the bad state of the main Bonwire – Antoah – Kenyase road. Residents and drivers were angered about the fact that the road had been neglected for years after persistent complaints to relevant authorities.
However what was intended to be a peaceful demonstration turned berserk when the angry drivers mounted road blocks and set tyres ablaze in the middle of the road obstructing traffic to the regional capital Kumasi.
But according to the drivers, they resorted to the burning of tyres when a reinforcement team of police personnel came in from the Rapid Deployment Force in Kumasi and started firing live and rubber bullets as well as teargas to scare them.
The irate demonstrators were also compelled to hurl stones at the police leading to the violent clashes. Although many demonstrators were injured in the process, some police officers were also hurt by their own men as a result of the random firing of live and rubber bullets as well stones hurled by the demonstrators. Unconfirmed reports however suggests that one demonstrator lost his life.
The District Chief Executive for Kwabre East Iddissah Adams told Ultimate Radio the police re-enforcement from Kumasi triggered exacerbated an already tensed situation.
He said he was very much aware of the demonstration since he had held earlier talks with the organizers. According to him, the organizers appreciated his efforts in trying to get the road construction contract reassigned to another contractor and assured him of their willingness to use the demonstration as a conduit to compliment his efforts at piling pressure on the Feeder Roads Department to expedite work on the road.
The DCE further noted that he had personally provided a pick up to the District Police Commander to send more men to oversee the demonstration. He divulged that until the unfortunate events unfolded, he was in touch with the Asawase Police Commander who confirmed to him that the process was peaceful.
“I think it was unfortunate that the Buffalo or whatever unit came in from Kumasi and begun shooting. I am unaware of who called them and I surely did not invite them. I was always in communication with my district commander” he stated.
The Assembly Member for Mmerem Electoral area, Adade Asamoah, also blamed personnel from the Rapid Deployment Force for the escalation of the situation. He told Ultimate Radio’s Joseph Oppong Brenya that they were about to end the protests when they heard the gun shots from the police.
“We were about to read out our petition supposed to presented later to the Regional Minister which would be copied to the DCE. All of a sudden we heard another group of police personnel from Asuase shooting indiscriminately” he narrated.
In defense however, the police say although the demonstrators had sought an order, they went beyond their limit by blocking the road and burning car tyres. The Ashanti Regional Commander in charge of the Rapid Deployment Force unit, Superintendent Chris Klomegah told journalists the police had no option than to apply anti riot control measures to restore order.
“We had reports that the people had blocked roads and set fire to tyres in places close to filling stations. We went in and beckoned on the protestors to go by their terms of a peaceful demonstration but to no avail. They started throwing things at the police, one of our wind screens got smashed and two of our men got injured” he claimed.
He however was unable to readily confirm the number of casualties until reports had been sent in from all health facilities that received