Ghanaians are losing their lives at the hands of unscrupulous people whose mission is not to rob or rape but to escape after having accomplished their mission.
Are hitmen killing for cold cash in Ghana?
A body was found lying in a pool of blood this week has shocked the nation. Abuakwa North Member of Parliament MP, JB Danquah Adu, was stabbed to death at his Shiashie residence in Accra. It is believed he was the latest victim of professional criminals prepared to kill for cash. Mildred Europa Taylor reports on a trend of contract killing.
Contract killing is beginning to rock the country, and demands swift attention from all especially law enforcement agencies.
A contract killing, or contract murder is a murder in which a killer is hired by another person to kill for material reward, usually money. A person who carries out a contract killing is sometimes known as a contract killer, hitman, or assassin.
Usually with contract killing, the person who actually commits the murder may have little or no direct connection to the victim, making it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to establish what really happened.A few years ago, Ghana was not really familiar with contract killing. But for a handful of people who read about it or watched it in movies or on television, we were at a loss as to how grave the trend could be
Looking at killings through Ghana over the past decade, the argument could be made that the trend is growing, while the below are not all confirmed to be contract killings, they were all suspected to be.
In 2005, a former Deputy Managing Director in charge of Finance and Administration at Ghana Telecom, Mr Boateng, was killed at Dome Pillar Two in Accra.
Rokko Frimpong, the Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Commercial Bank, was also attacked and killed in his Spintex Road residence on June 19, 2007. Nana Bretuo III, the Chief of Nyankumase-Adansi in the Ashanti Region was killed on May 31, 2006; Nana Badu Boakye Dankwa of MimAkyiase, near Kumasi, was also killed on December 12, in the same year.
Other cases involved Samuel Ennin, the Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Ghana Journalists Association, who was killed on February 9, 2007, and a 71-year-old Lebanese businessman, Zakaria Dennaoui, who was killed on April 28, of the same year.
In January 2008, unidentified gun men shot and killed a 56-year-old man, Alhaji Mumuni Hamidu and his 20-year-old son, Dawuda Mohamed at their residence at the Regimanuel Estates near Sakumono.
The phenomenon subsequently spread to Kumasi in 2009, where a second-hand clothing boutique attendant, Jacqueline Adjei was found stabbed to death at Mbrom, a suburb of Kumasi.
In July of the same year, Kwame Kyei Apenteng-Mensah, Managing Director of Summit Industries was also murdered.
This dastardly act of suspected contract killings became severe in December 2013 when a 36-year-old Immigration officer, Kofi Quist Defor was murdered in cold-blood by unidentified assailants in his home at Mataheko in the Kpone-Katamanso Constituency near Tema.
In that same year, two bank workers, Rosemond Nyampong of Stanbic Bank and Kwesi Sakyi Prah, a Branch Manager of Zenith Bank were also brutally murdered.The Chief of Joma, a village near Ablekuma in the Greater Accra Region, Nii Ayittey Noryatse, was in March 2014, found dead in his room, with police suspecting that he was shot.
The following day after the incident, Fennec Okyere, manager of controversial hiplife artiste, Kwaw Kese, was shot dead by some unknown assailant(s) on the morning of March 13, 2014 at his Manet Gardens residence on the Spintex Road, Accra.
In that same month, Samuel Denis Ayibah, a 55-year-old businessman, was shot and killed by two unidentified gunmen while parking his new Toyota Highlander vehicle with registration number GT 449-14.
In December 2014, the Branch Manager of Ecobank Ghana at Abrepo in Kumasi in the Ashanti region, Richard Sallah, was shot dead in his home by unknown assailants.Subsequently in 2015, the chief of Atwima Koforidua in the Ashanti Region, Nana Adusa Gyapong, was gunned down by unknown assailants after visiting his construction site in the town.Then in November 2015, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Nkwanta South, Mr. Peter Kojo Kenyeso in the Volta Region was shot dead.
A 30-year-old marketing officer of Vodafone Ghana, Mr Ebo Panford- Quainoo, was allegedly shot dead in that same month by two unidentified armed robbers at his residence at Sakumono, near Jotasa Pharmacy, in the Greater Accra Region.
Several of the cases mentioned above have been left unresolved. Even though the police made some arrests, full prosecution has mostly not been done.
But what has been the motivations of those contracted to commit such heinous crimes? Police have said that a few of the motive for the killings might be varied including chieftaincy disputes, land, economic, and political.
The police have over the years assured Ghanaians of their safety, citing several approaches being adopted to fight the growing incidence of 'contract killings'.
For example, the police have increased night patrols and embarked on arresting unregistered motorbikes which are mostly used in committing some of these crimes.
The Public Relations Officer of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, ASP Joseph Darkwa had in 2014 mentioned on an Accra-based radio station that his outfit has dispatched a number of plain-clothes detectives into communities “to help detect some of these crimes”.
But are these measures yielding the desired results? Some Members of Parliament have recently reiterated the need to have enhanced security following several armed attacks on their colleagues.
While the Ghana Police Service needs to be resourced adequately to afford current crime detection technology, Ghanaians also need to avoid the habit of trying to get more than they are mandated to when signing contracts with their business partners.
There is no denying the fact that several contract killings are borne out of anger and the feeling of being cheated upon by a business partner, and the need to therefore get revenge.
Besides, part of the reason for the upsurge in contract killings could be the greater availability of handguns and other locally manufactured weapons, a situation which needs to be checked.
But as the perpetrators of these crimes continue to possibly walk the streets, it becomes imperative for us all, not only security agencies, to be on high alert.
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