Soldier accused of killing civilian at Ashaiman withdrawn from duty post

The military hierarchy has withdrawn the soldier who allegedly shot and killed a civilian at Ashaiman in Accra from his duty post.

“The officer involved has been withdrawn from the operations, taken in, disarmed and the investigations have commenced from the Military Police,” Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.

The Director of Public Relations at the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel Aggrey-Quarshie confirmed the decision to theghanareport.com.

Civilian ‘accidentally’ shot dead in lockdown operation

A military officer who was enforcing the restrictions on movement during the lockdown as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus shot and killed a resident of Ashaiman, who eyewitnesses described as mentally unstable.

According to a statement issued by the Ghana Armed Forces, the deceased attempted “to disarm a soldier who was conducting an arrest as part of OP COVID SAFETY”.

“The civilian was being arrested on suspicion of indulging in illegal conduct contrary to the Narcotics Act. Initial reports are that the suspect in resisting arrest attempted to disarm the soldier leading to a struggle during which the soldier’s rifle accidentally went off,” the statement further said.

But residents and eyewitnesses of Sunday’s bloody incident have strongly discounted the claims of the military.

Two women who observed what happened told JoyNews that the military command’s release contained inaccuracies.

Ofosuwaa, a family friend of the deceased, said she went to escort a friend that Sunday. On her return, she ran into the soldier who questioned why she was outside.

She said her response to him was that she was going to the washroom.

“When I came out, I saw him (soldier) telling Ofotsu to leave the area, but Ofotsu told him (soldier) that he lives at the market,” Ofosuwaa recounted. “I told the soldier that Ofotsu was mentally challenged and he sleeps and works at the market by transporting goods and engaging in menial jobs”.

She said Ofotsu had desilted the gutters the previous day, and the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly had not even paid him.

“All of us around told the soldier he (Ofotsu) had a mental problem,” she said, as she alleged that the serviceman ignored her comments.

Eyewitnesses’ blow by blow account of how bullet pierced through Ashaiman man’s head

Ofosuwaa said she saw the soldier make a call and someone at the other end of the line instructed him to kill Ofotsu.

After the call, “He cocked his gun, and we all took cover, but before we realised he had shot him (Ofotsu)”.

“I ran and held my ‘brother’, and I started calling neighbours for help,” she said in tears.

“If they said Ofotsu held on to the soldier’s gun, it is a lie. He never tried to disarm the soldier. The soldier didn’t try,” she concluded.

Another eyewitness, who preferred to remain anonymous, said she was sitting in front of a cold store when she heard “exchange of words” between Ofotsu and the soldier.

“The soldier hit the deceased with a stick. The deceased got angry, and he collected the stick from the soldier and dropped it.

“After the initial altercation, Ofotsu and the soldier went separate ways, and the military man made a call to an unknown person. The soldier returned. But those of us around thought he wanted to hit Ofotsu again,” she recalled.

“But what we saw was that he cocked his gun. I thought he was going to give a warning shot. However, he rather pointed the rifle at the throat of the victim. He shot without hesitation,” the agitated woman said.  “The bullet went through the back of his head. He (soldier) just took a tissue, picked the pellets and placed it in a polythene bag. All he said was, ‘I am sorry’”.

This development sparked rage among residents. Member of Parliament for the area, Ernest Norgbey, waded into the matter, calling for an impartial probe into the matter.

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