The mortal remains of Captain Maxwell Mahama, the army officer who was gruesomely killed in a mob action at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region, has been deposited at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.
According to Col. Eric Aggrey-Quarshie, Director of Public Relations, Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), the body of the late Captain arrived Tuesday evening from the Dunkwa-on-Offin Government Hospital in the region where it was initially kept after the assassination in a town where illegal mining (popularly called galamsey) activities are at their peak.
The death of Captain Mahama, who was a Detachment Commander checking galamsey operations in the area, has been widely condemned as barbaric and President Akufo-Addo has said he would ensure that perpetrators of the heinous crime are punished.
Some of the faces behind the dastardly act have been identified while six people have been arrested in connection with the barbaric murder, including the Assemblyman for the area, William Baah.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has expressed utter shock that there are people in society who could commit such a dastardly act as perpetrated against Capt Mahama.
With a “heavy heart,” Vice President Bawumia was at the Arakan Officers’ Mess at Burma Camp in Accra together with some army chiefs and government officials to console the family of the late soldier yesterday.
Describing the demise of the soldier as “very, very sad news,” the vice president said he could not really believe it. ”I did not really think we have such evil people amongst us, such wickedness amongst us as a people.
“What happened is dastardly; it’s painful; it’s evil; it’s wickedness. Nobody can justify this act,” he said, adding that the government had taken note of comments made by the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Upper Denkyira West, Daniel Appianin, which many considered unfortunate, as he sought to justify the lynching of the soldier. The vice president, was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Defence, Maj Derek Oduro (Rtd); Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah and other government officials who were received by the late Captain’s father, his wife Barbara and a number of chiefs from Bole.
The Ghana Police Service says it has retrieved the missing pistol of Captain Mahama.
The weapon was found yesterday. The army rounded up the youth of the town in search of the body and the weapon late Monday when they received news of the callous murder of the soldier.
After several hours of searching, the firearm was found but it is not clear where exactly it was found. The police have dispatched a special team comprising homicide squad, crime scene management and action units to Denkyira-Obuasi to among other issues, gather further evidence and intelligence regarding the murder of Captain Mahama.
Details are emerging about how Denkyira-Obuase township and its surroundings have virtually turned into a ghost town following the killing of the army officer who was said to be jogging Monday morning before he was accosted and lynched because the townsfolk claimed he was on an armed-robbery operation.
The assemblyman, who allegedly mobilized the mob to attack Captain Mahama has turned himself in while the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Upper Denkyira West, Daniel Appianin, is under pressure for initially creating the impression that the deceased soldier and his men were in the area to protect Chinese galamsey operators.
The Military High Command in Accra has promised never to retaliate following the killing of one of their men but rather would ensure that investigations are professionally conducted so that those found culpable would be tried in the law court.
The Chief of Army Staff, Major General William Azu Ayamdo, who visited the crime scene on Tuesday, said GAF was already in close collaboration with other security agencies to thoroughly investigate and ensure justice for Captain Mahama.
“I’ve lost one of my fine officers who were detailed to come here on official duty protecting lives and properties, only to be lynched by the same community he is supposed to be protecting. So I’m very sad that this should happen to an officer of the Ghana Army and the Ghana Armed Forces at large,” he said.
“The community where the incident happened has completely been vacated, except the few who were arrested,” the army chief asserted, adding, “Out of those we have been able to identify, two or three who may have been directly involved in the incident, we have handed them over to the police. My hope is that the police will work on this one very speedily so that we can get to the bottom of this matter.
“A lot of people have the thought that we are coming to do some reprisal attacks…. We are not going to carry out reprisal attacks. People should feel free to go about their normal duties if they are not involved in any of these acts. But once we require getting to the bottom of this, we require them to give us information that will lead to the quick resolution of the matter. They should rest assured that we are not going to carry out reprisal attack,” he assured.
Currently, soldiers are said to be patrolling the town while crime scene investigators are busily fishing for leads as the security agencies are said to be on top of the issue.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) preferred to politicize the unfortunate incident when it put the blame on the doorsteps of President Akufo-Addo.
“The NDC is laying blame for this heinous and callous lynching of Captain Mahama at the doorstep of President Akufo-Addo,” the party said in a statement in Accra signed by its General Secretary, Johnson Aseidu Nketia.
Capt. Dennis Adam Mahama(rtd), father of the slain soldier who was attached to the 5th Infantry Battalion (5BN), said he did not accept the theory that his son was new to the route he used for jogging.
According to him, the late son had been jogging on the route in the locality since he was stationed there and usually did it to keep his health and body in shape.
He later described his son as his ‘personal advisor’ and said he was an ‘ambitious and brilliant’ chap who provided regular counsel to him (father).
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has issued a statement condemning the mob action saying, “The Bar finds mob actions purportedly exercised to punish suspected or alleged offenders very unacceptable and an affront to the rule of law under the Fourth Republican Constitution of Ghana.”
By William Yaw Owusu