The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, has defended the military involvement in the tensions at Ejura which saw soldiers open fire on protestors, killing two and injuring four.
Concerns are being raised about the use of the military for events that ordinarily should be handled by the police.
And many Ghanaians have been angered by incidents including the killing of some Ghanaians during the 2020 election, the invasion of Parliament by soldiers, the recent killing of two persons, and the injuring of four others who were protesting at Ejura and the brutalization of some residents of Wa by some soldiers.
But taking his turn before the three-member ministerial committee probing the violence at Ejura, the Ashanti Regional Minister said 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.
He however 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.
The violence occurred during protests that followed the death of Mohammed Iddrisu alias Kaaka. He 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 has since arrested three persons in connection with his death, including his brother and have put them before the court.