Police investigations have uncovered how residents of Denkyira-Obuasi gruesomely murdered Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama, a commander of military detachment stationed at Diaso in the Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region, on May 29, 2017.
According to police investigations, the slain army officer was a victim of false alarm which led a mob to snuff life out of him.
So far, the police have arrested 15 people in connection with his murder, and they are undergoing interrogations to ascertain the role each one of them played. No woman has been arrested, even though the video footages circulating on social media clearly showed some women at the crime scene.
The Director General of Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), DCOP Bright Oduro, at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said the late Captain Mahama was dispatched – three weeks before his death – to replace a colleague officer, who was the commander of the military detachment but was writing a promotional examination, to check galamsey (illegal mining) activities in the area.
On Monday, May 29, 2017, at about 8:00 am, the young soldier reportedly left the detachment base for a 20-kilometer jogging in mufti but carried his sidearm.
He jogged on the main asphalted Diaso-Dominase-Ayamfuri Road and came through Agona Port Police Barrier, James Nkwanta and Dankwakrom villages heading towards Dominase.
The CID boss said it was established that at about 8:55 that same morning, the deceased in a WhatsApp chat with a friend, stated that he was embarking on a 20-km walk and that he started at 8:00 am and so he would get in touch later.
At about 9:25 am, the soldier had walked about 10 kilometers to a place at the outskirts of Denkyira-Obuasi where a number of women were selling food items by the roadside.
Captain Maxwell Mahama then stopped to interact with the women and even bought some snails which he left with the women to be collected on his return from the exercise.
DCOP Bright Oduro indicated that while taking the money from his pocket to pay for the snails, the snail seller saw his pistol tucked on his waist and soon after he had left, she called the assemblyman of the area, William Baah, to report what she had seen.
Without verifying the information, William Baah, who is now in police custody, purportedly mobilized the townfolks to prepare to attack a suspected armed robber who had been sighted by the women selling on the outskirt of the town.
The CID boss said investigations revealed that the assemblyman and his cohorts met Captain Mahama at a spot near the Denkyira-Obuase cemetery, about one-and-a-half kilometers away from the food seller, and accosted him without giving him the opportunity to identify himself.
DCOP Bright Oduro disclosed that they attacked Captain Mahama but he made efforts to reveal his identity while at the same time attempting to flee from his attackers.
The police officer told journalists that investigations revealed that while being attacked, the soldier jumped unto a different motorbike with intent to escape from the attackers but to no avail.
“He also attempted to escape by jumping unto a timber truck by entering through the passenger side, but the attackers fired and shattered the windscreen, causing him to fall off,” DCOP Bright Oduro narrated.
He said there were also sporadic shootings from the mob while others wielded clubs, cement blocks and machetes.
The CID boss said Captain Mahama was finally killed at about 10:00 am.
He disclosed that nine more suspects had been arrested, bringing to 16, the number of suspects nabbed and linked to the murder of the army captain.
Seven arrested earlier included William Baah, the 36-year-old assemblyman; Bismark Donkor, 30, prison assistant; Philip Badu, 30; Yaw Annor, 32, mason; Kofi Badu, 29, farmer; Kofi Nyame, 29, farmer and Anthony Amoah, 23, okada (commercial motorbike) rider. They have been remanded by a Cape Coast District Court to reappear on June 19, 2017.
Kwasi Charles Buah, one of the two people who allegedly mobilized the youth to attack the captain and fled to seek shelter in his girlfriend’s house, was sent to the Cape Coast Regional Police Command for further investigations.
The eight others also attempted to escape to other places to hide but were grabbed from their various hideouts.
They are Dolly Kormla, Domeh Francis, Sonu Mwaunyo, Sonu Emmauel, Ernest Ally, Kojo Mfum, Issah Manu and Prince Amponsah.
DCOP Oduro added that a number of evidences had been collected linking the 16 arrested suspects to the crime.
Inspector General of Police David Asante Apeatu condemned the action of the residents and urged Ghanaians to desist from instant justice.
He said when the police visited the town after the killing, all the residents had fled the place, leaving only two women – a nursing mother and an old lady.
He said the police were searching for the snail seller who had been identified.
IGP Asante-Apeatu called for calm, promising that the Police Service would get to the bottom of the matter. “Persons who violate the laws of the land in the manner akin to what has happened in the late Captain’s case, will be dealt with accordingly. The police are prepared to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that this canker of instant justice is permanently stamped out of our society.
“We shall therefore stop at nothing to deal with perpetrators of this phenomenon. The police administration wishes to pledge its full support to him to achieve this goal. For the purpose of protecting sanctity of evidence, we have decided not to parade the 16 suspects currently in our custody. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a war, not only for the security agencies, but for all of us, including members of the public,” he charged.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa, stated with pain that “justice delayed is justice denied” but the military trusts the police will do their work to make sure that the perpetrators are punished.
“Yesterday [Thursday], I held a durbar and the issues raised had to do with the speedy investigation and prosecution of those who carried out this dastardly act, and I gave assurance that a high powered team had been sent to the incident area, and I am happy to hear from the Director General of the CID and also from the IGP that indeed they are making progress. We look forward to a speedy investigation so that those who are found culpable face the full rigors of the law because justice delayed is justice denied,” the CDS underscored.
He confirmed that the troops were in the area to fight galamsey activities and not to give protection to illegal miners as speculated by the public.