Refutes Mistaken Identity Claim
By Gifty Arthur
The Minister for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, has asked the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Upper Denkyira West District, Daniel Appianing, to keep quiet, if he has nothing important to say about the gruesome murder of a captain in the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Maxwell Mahama.
The DCE, who is the head of the District Security Council (DISEC) and anti-galamsey fighter, yesterday revealed that his people, were enraged at the soldiers preventing them from their galamsey activities, yet protecting Chinese nationals, who are in the area carrying out the illegal business.
Daniel Appianing’s shocking revelation and a near-justification of the gruesome murder, raises doubts about the earlier story that the folks in the town, mistook Captain Mahama, a nephew of ex-President John Mahama, for an armed robber, because he had a pistol on him while jogging at Denkyira Obuasi around 8;30 am, on Monday.
The late Captain was the head of a military detachment in the Upper Denkyira West District.
Capt Maxwell Mahama of the 5 Battalion Infantry was lynched while he went jogging at dawn. He was stoned and burnt by the youth of the area.
Speaking on Accra-based Adom FM yesterday, a day after the incident, Mr. Appianing, said even though the Chinese nationals have the license to prospect for gold in the area, they were rather engaging in illegal mining.
“There is a large number of military personnel protecting the Chinese that the lynched soldier is alleged to be part of it, in fact he is said to be the leader…am shocked they are not briefing you very well, but rather claiming they are here to fight galamseyers…,” he said.
He further asked persons, who doubt his claim to contact the police and Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) commanders in his district for confirmation.
“As I speak, there are reports that the BNI is calling on the military to help stop it, because it is creating disaffection between the residents and the military…,” he said.
But The Minister for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, quickly jumped into the fray, asking the newly appointed DCE to shut up on the matter.
According to him, it is unfortunate for the DCE, to run commentary on the sad issue, when he has little or no knowledge about the unfortunate death of the young officer.
“I don’t know who this DCE is, but he should not speak on this again, because he does not understand the issue.
I beg him he should not speak on this matter again if he doesn’t know details of the issue being discussed. He should keep quiet. I will reach out to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to talk to him” Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul.
“I will urge all government communicators, including the DCE to clarity issues with the ministry before going public with issues concerning the army. He’s new on the job, if he doesn’t know what is going on, he should not speak”, he said.
The Minister’s comment was in reaction to the DCE’s claim that, the late Captain Mahama, as the head of a military detachment in the area, was rather protecting a group of Chinese nationals illegally mining gold in the Upper Wassa Forest.
Mr. Nitiwul, will have none of the accusation and denied the claims by the DCE. He said the late Captain Mahama was part of the region because he was assigned by his superiors. He said there are 21mining sites in the country where the army has been assigned to give protection to legal miners.
According to him, the deceased is part of Operation Halt 2, an anti-Galamsey activity, which is being undertaken by the military.
“I don’t know who this DCE is but he should not speak on this again because he does not understand the issue.
I beg him he should not speak on this matter again if he doesn’t know details of the issue being discussed. He should keep quiet. I will reach out to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to talk to him.
The Minister who was getting agitated because of the DCE’s earlier comments told host Captain Smart that all government communicators to verify information concerning the military before commenting.
“I will urge all government communicators, including the DCE to clarity issues with the ministry before going public with issues concerning the army. He’s new on the job if he doesn’t know what is going on, he should not speak”, he said.
He further charged the DCE to present the said BNI reports which he claims to have to the District Security Committee (DISEC) for forwarding to Accra.
The Ghana Armed Forces, has since confirmed the incident and said investigations are ongoing.
Scores of armed military personnel, have been deployed to Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region, as a search is mounted for the residents who lynched the Captain.
According to close friends, Captain Mahama was due for promotion to Major as he has completed his exams.
Many Ghanaians, have expressed disgust over his killing. He is from ex-President John Mahama’s family in Bole.
In a facebook post, the former president said “My heart goes out to my brother, Capt. Chubby Adam Mahama (Rtd), on the murder of his son, Capt. Maxwell Mahama. My condolences also go to the wife, his young children and to his mother on the loss of her only son”.
Meanwhile, the Police in the Denkyira Obuasi district, where residents lynched Captain Mahama are accusing the military of hampering investigations into the incident and demanding their withdrawal from the town.
District Police Commander, ASP Osei-Adu Agyemang, told Joy News the presence of the military, has forced the residents to flee their home, which is thwarting police efforts at getting witnesses to give them credible information to what led to the death of the officer.
“Our fears now is the soldiers storming Denkyira Obuasi and most of the people leaving town. It will take time for police to take the possible witnesses to help us speed up investigations,” he said.
The Commander said investigations, have been halted, because there are no witnesses to speak to.
According to him, on Tuesday morning the police tried to make contacts “but we were not successful as they were told that most of the youth were informed last night that the military will be deployed to town”.
A high-level delegation led by the Army Chief of Staff is in the town on a fact-finding mission following his murder.
The District Police Commander, ASP Osei-Adu Agyemang said they are looking for the Assemblyman to get more answers as he told them the officer pulled a gun on him and other residents, which was why he rushed to the police station to lodge a complaint.
Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul says government will investigate thoroughly the killing, which he describes as weird.
“The circumstances under which this officer was murdered callously has not yet been established so I will urge that we don’t draw conclusions until a thorough investigation has taken place”.
He said the circumstance surrounding the killing is weird because the deceased was armed.
“If it was the normal Ghanaian way of shouting ‘julor’ [thief] then straight away the officer would have wasted some people if he knew they would kill him.
“It is clear the way he was murdered, the villagers might not have raised the thief syndrome of shouting. They may have hit him without him knowing what their intentions were,” the Minister said.
According to him, in order to prevent any reprisal attack, the military high command upon his advice moved two officers and 35 men to join the platoon to carry out the investigations.
But, ASP Agyemang believes, “if the military moves out and allow investigations to go on, the inhabitants will come back and the police will get into contact with possible witnesses to continue the investigations.
In a related development, a security analyst at Head of Faculty of Academic Research (FAR) the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre has cast doubt on the claim of mistaken identity for which reason the residents decided to lynch the deceased.
Dr. Kwesi Anning told Joy News he wants the investigators to delve deeper as the individual murdered reflects the escalation of what he terms as a crisis.
“Even more disturbing is the willingness of the unseen hands and forces behind the criminality that tie in to bigger organised crime in West Africa,” he said.
Also, Members of Parliament are calling for speedy investigations into Capt. Mahama’s murder. The MPs have condemned the killing and want the perpetrators to be brought to book.