Twenty three soldiers have been detained over the violent demolition exercise which has led to the death of one in Kasoa
The Police in the Central Region and the Military High Command in Accra have begun investigations into the conduct of 23 soldiers alleged to be involved in a shooting incident which occurred at Millennium City, near Kasoa, last Thursday, resulting in the death of one person and serious injuries to two others.
The Millennium City District Police Commander, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Christopher Kofi Dartey, told journalists after a closed-door meeting with some officers of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) that any soldier found to have acted unlawfully in the public disturbance would be dealt with according to law
No one will be spared
Mr Dartey said so far, the police had taken the written statements of all the 23 soldiers identified as having been involved in the incident, but said no arrests had been made.
According to him, the police had initiated moves to invite other individuals involved in the matter, including the owner of the 21st Century Construction Limited, Mr Kofi Asmah, for questioning.
He acknowledged the fact that the building which housed the police station was provided by Mr Asmah but assured the residents that the police would deal with him according to the law if he was found to have been behind the demolition.
Currently, he said, the main objective of the police was to ensure the safety of Kasoa Millennium City residents and those in the surrounding areas, adding that the police were determined to calm tension in the area.
A demolition exercise carried out in the area last Thursday turned bloody when one person, identified as Abubakar Mustapha, aged 37, was killed, while two others sustained serious injuries.
The military personnel accompanying the demolition team, numbering about 23, fired warning shots to disperse residents who were protesting against the exercise.
Although the residents claimed the demolition exercise was carried out by the 21st Century Construction Limited, a company owned by Mr Asmah, he denied carrying out that exercise.
As part of the measures to calm the agitated residents, the police have deployed more personnel to the area.
Meanwhile calm has returned to the area with most people going about their normal activities.
When the Daily Graphic news team in the company of some police personnel visited the area, tension had eased. However, the residents called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the soldiers involved in the incident.
They also demanded the arrest of Mr Asmah, whom they accused of being the brain behind the demolition and the shooting of the residents.
The Zongo Chief of the area, Mr Tairu Abdalai, alleged that it was Mr Asmah who instructed the military personnel to attack the residents.
Others said the three persons who were shot by soldiers did nothing unlawful and that they were only protesting against the demolition of their houses and, in effect, protecting their property.
“The incident needs to be probed because there was no court order for the demolition of the structures. We will not sit down for anyone to intimidate us but resist any attempt to take our lands,” a resident, Seth Adjei, said.
Madam Hajia Ramatu Alhassan said the soldiers’ involvement in the land issue was surprising, adding that investigations were needed to ensure law and order in the area.
Another resident, Yaw Moses, said until investigations were carried out to establish the real owners of the land, they would not allow anyone to eject them from the area, since “we think we are the real owners”.
Maame Adjoa, also a resident, said the soldiers who engaged in “the unlawful acts should be dealt with according to the laws of Ghana”.
However, Mr Asmah has denied carrying out any demolition exercise in the area, insisting that he only requested the help of the military personnel to assist his workers who were constructing roads and layouts in the area
That, he said, was because the residents had earlier prevented his workers from carrying out that legitimate exercise.
According to Mr Asmah, part of the Millennium City lands had been acquired by a number of organisations, including the military and the police.
GAF institutes probe
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) had earlier stated that it had instituted investigations into the incident.
A statement released by the GAF yesterday and signed by the Deputy Director of Information and Press Relations of the GAF, Lieutenant Commander M.A. Larbi, said the soldiers were on Operation Calm Life duty, which required their presence in the area.
While patrolling, the statement said, the team encountered a large crowd, protesting against the presence of an estate developer.
In their attempt to calm the crowd, it said, some people threw stones at the patrol team, which led to the firing of warning shots in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
“The shot is alleged to have injured some members of the crowd,” the statement said.