Electrochem Limited, a Ghanaian Salt mining company, has denied any involvement in the shooting incident that occurred at Toflokpo in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra Region, leading to the death of one person and injuring many others.
Residents of the town, accused Electrochem of taking away their livelihood and harassing them with land guards.
A feud had ensued on Monday between officials of Electrochem and residents of Toflokpo, when some staff of the company went to the area to repair some damaged dykes used in the evaporation and harvesting of salt.
Nene Mayilo Dadebom II, Chief of Toflokpo, had in a media engagement confirmed the shooting incident and accused Electrochem of persistent acts of intimidation, but in a statement released yesterday, the management of Electrochem, denied any involvement in the shooting and condemned it.
The company, added that it is awaiting the police to conduct an investigation into the shooting and report its findings accordingly.
Electrochem said “the attention of the management of Electrochem Ghana Limited has been drawn to newspaper publications and comments in social media linking Electrochem to the unfortunate death of a resident in Ada.
“We will like to state emphatically devoid of any equivocation that the company has NO hand in the said incident and condemn in no uncertain terms the killings. We are very much aware that the police have taken the issue up and are investigating the case including coming up with the autopsy report.
“Due to the confidence we have in the Ghana Police Service, we have decided to wait and come out with a more detailed press release on the incident since we will not want to preempt the workings of the police, adding “We wish to state our commitment to working with the people of Ada for our mutual benefit.
The conflict between residents of Sege and Electrochem is in connection with the Songhor Lagoon resulting in the shooting and killing of one person, with about 25 others also sustaining injuries.
The onslaught on the residents was allegedly led by some land guards hired to protect the Electrochem concession from unauthorised people who have been ordered to vacate the area.
The armed landguards allegedly stormed a village called Toflokpo and started attacking people indiscriminately.
The DCE for the area, who attempted to intervene, was also beaten to a pulp by the locals, who insist the Lagoon is their source of livelihood and, thus, cannot vacate the concession.
The chief of Toflokpo, told media houses that their decades-old source of livelihood, cannot be denied them at a whim.
Assemblyman for Bone Kope, Mr Francis in an interview, indicated that he received insider information that Electrochem officials, were distributing machetes to land guards in the presence of some armed police officers to go and attack locals operating the ‘achiakpo’.
According to him, the landguards and the police stormed the site and began cutting the trampolines being used by the locals. This he said, resulted in some agitations from the residents leading to the police firing gunshots which eventually killed one person.
“I went to report at incident at the police station. I can tell you the police had difficulty in even taking the deceased body away. It took my intervention and that of the DCE to get the residents to agree for the corpse to be taken away,” he said.
The Assemblyman however denied the fact that the deceased was pelted with stone, saying that blood was still gashing out from behind the deceased’s head and the Doctor’s confirmation of the cause of death is that the deceased may die from possible gun wounds.
Electrochem, while admitting to using a task force to evict the locals, denied shooting anyone.
Nene Siada, Operations Manager at Electrochem Ghana, told Accra-based Citi FM: “We were on the field when all of a sudden, we heard noises which were from a lot of crowd from the town. We made sure that we protected our equipment and personnel. The people started throwing stones at us.”
“I heard Nene saying the police were shooting, but before man and God, there was no shooting. We were trying to protect our concession, and we have made announcements that they should move from that place. No one went there to shoot because our security guys don’t even use guns. We never shot a gun, not even a warning shot.”
“We gladly welcome any other person that wants to do salt business with us, and we have been given fifteen years to mine salt at Ada, and this thing went through the traditional authorities and Parliament, so this thing is legal. We have people who are doing illegal mining there. We have done over ninety-five community engagements, and we continue to do engagements. So I don’t understand why someone would say we’ve never engaged the community,” he added.