Police in the Denkyira Obuasi district where residents lynched a young military officer are accusing the military of hampering investigations into the incident and demanding their withdrawal from the town.
District Police Commander, ASP Osei-Adu Agyemang told Joy News the presence of the military has forced the residents to flee their home, which is thwarting police efforts at getting witnesses to give them credible information to what led to the death of the officer.
“Our fears now is the soldiers storming Denkyira Obuasi and most of the people leaving town. It will take time for police to take the possible witnesses to help us speed up investigations,” he said.
The Commander said investigations have been halted because there are no witnesses to speak to.
According to him, on Tuesday morning the police tried to make contacts “but we were not successful as they were told that most of the youth were informed last night that the military will be deployed to town”.
A high-level delegation led by the Army Chief of Staff is in the town on a fact-finding mission following his murder.
Capt Maxwell Mahama of the 5 Battalion Infantry was reportedly lynched while he went jogging at dawn. He was allegedly stoned and burnt by the youth of the area who mistook him for an armed robber.
Joy News’ Ohemeng Tawiah said the town is currently deserted as many of the residents have sought refuge in the nearby bush although some arrests have been made.
It is not clear how many people have been arrested, as the military has not disclosed the number or where they have been kept in the township, he reported.
Also, the whereabout of the Assembly who is reported to have incited the people to lynch the officer is not known, the reporter said.
The police said he was the one who reported to them about a young man who has been spotted in the community and the inhabitants suspected that he was an armed robber.
Two other people who are said to have engaged the deceased are also being hunted by the police.
The District Police Commander, ASP Osei-Adu Agyemang said they are looking for the Assemblyman to get more answers as he told them the officer pulled a gun on him and other residents, which was why he rushed to the police station to lodge a complaint.
Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul
Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul says government will investigate thoroughly the killing, which he describes as weird.
“The circumstances under which this officer was murdered callously has not yet been established so I will urge that we don’t draw conclusions until a thorough investigation has taken place”.
He said the circumstance surrounding the killing is weird because the deceased was armed.
“If it was the normal Ghanaian way of shouting ‘jolour’ [thief] then straight away the officer would have wasted some people if he knew they would kill him.
“It is clear the way he was murdered, the villagers might not have raised the thief syndrome of shouting. They may have hit him without him knowing what their intentions were,” the Minister said.
According to him, in order to prevent any reprisal attack, the military high command upon his advice moved two officers and 35 men to join the platoon to carry out the investigations.
But, ASP Agyemang believes, “if the military moves out and allow investigations to go on, the inhabitants will come back and the police will get into contact with possible witnesses to continue the investigations.
Dr. Kwesi Anning
In a related development, a security analyst at Head of Faculty of Academic Research (FAR) the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre has cast doubt on the claim of mistaken identity for which reason the residents decided to lynch the deceased.
Dr. Kwesi Anning told Joy News he wants the investigators to delve deeper as the individual murdered reflects the escalation of what he terms as a crisis.
“Even more disturbing is the willingness of the unseen hands and forces behind the criminality that tie in to bigger organised crime in West Africa,” he said.
Also, Members of Parliament are calling for speedy investigations into Capt. Mahama’s murder. The MPs have condemned the killing and want the perpetrators to be brought to book.