As Police Hijack Ghana Armed Forces’ Anti-Bomb Squad Job
Another claim, has been disputed in the ongoing investigations into the recent explosion at Apiate in the Western Region, with the traditional leadership of the area, insisting that there was no police escort accompanying the truck carrying the explosives.
The police, through Director General of Police Public Affairs, ACP Kwesi Ofori, had in its initial statement on the accident of January 20, 2022, said preliminary findings had established that a police escort was with the vehicle which was carrying mining explosives from the warehouse of Maxam Ghana through Apiate for delivery.
But speaking to a delegation of government officials, including the Ministers of Lands and Natural Resources, Works and Housing and the Western Regional Minister, the Chief of Bepo near Bogoso, Nana Ataa Brembi II, debunked the claims by the police, insisting that there was no police escort with the truck.
Ahead of this, a motorcyclist said to have collided with the truck carrying explosives leading to the explosion as claimed by the police spokesperson, had denied the claims, telling the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that he was rather hit by another vehicle from behind, and rushed to a nearby health facility before the explosion occurred.
Another claim that the explosion was caused by dynamites which the truck was carrying has since faded and replaced with the claim that it was rather caused by mining chemicals, which are yet to be named.
The conflicting claims since the explosion have made it difficult to believe both police and other government officials, have maintained what led to Ghana’s version of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, last Thursday at Bogoso-Appiate, a gold mining community in Western Region.
The situation, has gotten many asking what has happened to Ghana Armed Forces anti-Bomb Squad, since they are capable of investigating the explosion and telling the public the true cause of the disaster which took away many lives and properties.
As setting up a fund to mitigate the suffering of the victims, who are currently putting up in churches, hospitals and schools, it is not clear the government, will set up a public enquiry into the explosion to help identify those culpable.
According to a report by Daily Graphic, the chief maintained his position, adding that members of the Apiate community are witnesses to the absence of a police escort in the incident.
“I want to let the ministers present know that the information going round that the truck was being escorted is not true. I want to emphasize again that it is not true,” he said. He noted that the accident occurred in the full glare of the community members of Apiate, who are direct eyewitnesses to the entire event.
He dared the police to prove him wrong, saying, “If they challenge us, they should produce the said police officer to tell us where he was when the accident occurred,” the chief further said, “….they should tell us if the police escort was before or after the truck….”
Nana Brembi, however, conveyed the appreciation of the people of Apiate to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and the government for coming to their aide following the accident.
“We are grateful, and we are ready to ensure that relief and comfort are brought to the people, especially those who lost their loved ones,” he said.
In his response to the traditional leaders, the minister assured of a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the accident.
“Let me assure Nana that I have heard what he said about the no escort issue and assure him that the findings would establish all that – we will be able to establish if there was an escort or not,” he said.
Mr Abu Jinapor, told the chiefs that the government has relevant institutions and agencies to investigate the incident and thus expressed hope that the team of investigators would do a good job to satisfy all lingering questions.
The minister, further assured members of the Apiate community that their inputs would be factored into the investigations. The Daily Graphic further reported that some community members corroborated the claims by the traditional leaders.
About 14 persons died, with over a hundred other victims sustaining various injuries when the blast accident occurred at Apiate last week.
According to the police, the truck transporting explosives got involved in an accident with a tricycle and a motorbike resulting in a fire that led to the explosive detonating. The impact of the blast destroyed several properties, including homes that were reduced to rubbles.
Many have questioned the impact of the collision between the truck and said motorbike, and this denial means there is more to the explosion than Ghanaians have been told, especially by the Police Public Affairs and the National Fire Service.
“I didn’t collide with the said truck, neither was I at the scene during the explosion,” the rider (name withheld) said.
The contradictions also suggest Maxam Explosives, one of the largest explosives manufacturers in the world, which was delivering its products to a mining site, might have been reckless in the course of transporting the explosives to the buyers.
The denial also suggests that the people who actually witnessed events leading to the explosion, might have died.
The driver of the truck was lauded by police for the efforts he put into evacuating school children prior to the blast.
“The driver, knowing what he was carrying, was of help to the community. He quickly rushed to the school and informed the teachers of the danger that was to come,” ACP Kwesi Ofori, had said.
But the rider insists he was receiving treatment at the health facility when he was informed that a truck had exploded.
“I don’t know where that story is coming from because I was not at the scene. I did not see any truck around me when the accident occurred. I was in the tricycle with one woman and the two of us were carried to the health facility.
The people that conveyed us to the hospital later informed me that it was a sprinter bus that hit my tricycle and that the driver ran away after the accident,” he insisted.
Preliminary investigations by the Police indicated that a mining explosive vehicle moving from Tarkwa to the Chirano Gold Mines collided with a motorcycle resulting in the explosion at Apiate, a farming community between Bogoso and Bawdie in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality in the Western Region.
A team of investigators from the Criminal Investigative Department of the Ghana Police Service on today, Sunday, January 23, 2022, interrogated the truck driver and the rider of the motorcycle believed to be involved in the accident.
The team interrogated the two persons at the disaster site as part of measures to unravel the cause of the explosion. The driver of the truck looked distraught with a part of his face bandaged.The truck driver declined to engage the media after the interrogation, saying: “I have been instructed not to speak.”
The CID team, said the interrogation would help them to unravel the circumstances that led to the accident and the subsequent explosion.