Arrogant Ashanti  Regional Minister Justifies Sending Soldiers To Ejura

Simon Osei Mensah Simon Osei Mensah

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, has arrogantly defended the military involvement in the tensions in Ejura, which saw soldiers open fire on protestors, killing two and injuring four.

Erastus Asare Donkor, a Journalist with the Multimedia Group in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, who was the second person to appear before the committee, said he saw a total of seven military personnel who engaged in the shooting that left two protesters dead and four others injured in the Ejura disturbances.

The journalist disclosed that one of the persons, Nasiru Yussif, who died from the incident, was very helpful to him and his team.

There have been growing concerns about the use of the military for civil events that ordinarily should be handled by the police.

The incidents that have angered many, include the killing of some Ghanaians during the 2020 election, the invasion of Parliament by soldiers, the latest killing of two persons, and the injuring of four others who were protesting at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.

The brutalization of some residents of the Upper West Region in Wa by some soldiers over a supposed stolen phone has also been widely condemned.

But taking his turn before the three-member ministerial committee probing the violence in Ejura, the Ashanti Regional Minister was belligerent, saying his decision to request military presence was in line with the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act 1030.

"I've used this strategy all this while. This is the first time we have had casualties, and I think we should continue with it," Mr Osei-Mensah said.

He, however, added that "there must be more education and communication between the various security agencies as to how to act under such circumstances."

According to the Minister, the deployment was informed by intelligence that the youth planned to destroy the Ejura Police station and a house belonging to two suspects arrested in connection with the death of a social activist, Ibrahim Muhammed.

"So based on this information, I ordered the police and military to go to the town and maintain law and order, and I did so as Chairman of the Regional Security Council because the law grants me that power," Mr Osei-Mensah explained.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, also refused pleas by the committee to disclose the identity of his informant, who he claims had told him of a plot by the angry youth to set the District Police Station ablaze.

The committee chaired by an Appeals Court judge, Justice George Kingsley Koomson, is receiving evidence from witnesses to ascertain the cause of the violence and make recommendations to the President.

Aside from the deaths, the violence also left four other persons with gunshot wounds. One of the four wounded persons, a 16-year-old boy, has had one of his legs amputated.

Mr Asare Donkor, further added that the military initially started firing warning shots into the air, but later changed the direction and fired directly into the protesters.

When asked about how long the shooting lasted, Mr Asare Donkor, said it went on for about 20 to 30 minutes.

"I saw seven military personnel who engaged in the shooting during the protest. Four came first, and later another three joined them."

"The military initially started firing into the cloud, but later started firing into the protesters and some started falling and others retreating. The shooting went on for about 20 to 30 minutes."

According to the Multimedia Media journalist, the protesters initially had opposed them filming the protest, but Nasiru Yussif, who was killed, spoke to the demonstrators in Hausa who allowed them to film.

"When we got to the scene, the youth were angry, and so they told us not to film what was happening, but one of the protesters, now deceased, Nasiru Yussif, spoke to them in Hausa, and they calmed down. So he and another guy formed a ring around us, so we could perform our duties. He was very active, following us wherever we went."

"So they now allowed us to film the demonstration. Some of them were holding sticks, others having knives, and others also wielding machetes. Some of them were also angrily chanting their anger at the death of Kaaka. Nasiru directed which path to go. At one point, he directed us to a storey building from which we could film."

When he quizzed as to how he would rate the actions of the military on the day, he said military personnel could have been a bit considerate.

Erastus Asare Donkor was the second witness to appear before the committee after the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah.

The violence occurred during protests that followed the death of a social media activist, Ibrahim Muhammed.

Ibrahim Muhammed, alias Kaaka, died after he was attacked by a mob on June 27 while returning home.

He's believed to have been killed because he was critical of the government.

The 45-year-old was noted to be vocal on both local and national issues using his Facebook page.

Police in the Ashanti Region have since arrested three persons in connection with his death, including his brother, and put them before the court.

Ibrahim Muhammed was buried on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, alongside the two others who died in the protest.

Meanwhile, one of the four persons who also sustained gunshot wounds, a sixteen-year-old boy, has had one of his legs amputated at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

There have been growing concerns about the use of the military for civil events that ordinarily should be handled by the police.

The incidents that have angered many include the killing of some Ghanaians during the 2020 election, the invasion of Parliament by soldiers, the latest killing of two persons, and the injuring of four others who were protesting at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.

The brutalization of some residents of the Upper West Region in Wa by some soldiers over a supposed stolen phone has also been widely condemned.

Source: theheraldghana.com