Regional Minister-Simon Osei MensahThe Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, has disclosed that he authorized the deployment of military and police personnel to Ejura based on intelligence received by the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC).
He said the intel he had pointed to threats by the youth of Ejura to burn state and private properties after the burial of social activist, Mohammed Ibrahim also known as Kaaka.
The Minister told the three-member committee, tasked to investigate circumstances to the shooting of death of two protesting youth at Ejura last week that the law establishing the Security Council grants him such powers.
Simon Osei Mensah who was the first witness told the committee, the deployment was sent to maintain law and order.Two young men, Nasiru Yussif and Murtala Mohammed, both in their 20s, who lost their lives in the tragedy, had since been buried.
Three accused persons, Ibrahim Issaka, Fuseini Alhassan and Iddi Mohammed, arrested in connection with Kaaka’s death, have been remanded into police custody by the Asokwa District Court.
Narrating how news of Kaaka got to him, Mr. Osei-Mensah told the Committee that he received a call on June 28 that the victim had been clubbed by unknown persons and had been rushed to hospital.
He said he traveled to Accra that same day for a Regional Ministers’ meeting and that he was in Accra when he received a call that Kaaka had passed on.
“I later picked intelligence that Kaaka’s death could cause problems with some youth planning to cause mayhem in Ejura,” he told the Committee.
The Regional Minister said he called the Commanding Officer of the 4th Battalion Infantry, Lt Col Kwasi Peprah to dispatch some members of Operation Calm Life to protect the Ejura Township that night.
He said the team after spending the night at Ejura, left the town on June 29 but there was another intelligence that the youth were planning to attack the Ejura Police Station and the houses of the two suspects who had been picked by the Police for allegedly attacking Kaaka.
According to the Minister, he once again requested the Military Commander to dispatch another team to Ejura based on the new intelligence to avert the impending attack by the youth.
“I took this decision in line with the Security and Intelligence Act 1030, section five that establishes the Regional Security Council, section six that provides for the membership of the Council and section seven that talks about the functions of the Council,” Mr Osei-Mensah emphasized.
He said later that day while he was still in Accra attending the meeting, he received the unfortunate news that there had been shootings in Ejura, leading to the death of two civilians.
The Regional Minister said he convened a REGSEC meeting on June 30 where the Council was briefed about the situation in Ejura and proceeded to the town on July 1 to have first-hand information on the disturbances.
The Ministerial Committee commissioned to investigate the Ejura shooting incident, has also appealed to the public to be willing to provide all the evidence needed for a successful probe.
“The public is being invited to provide us with all the relevant evidence linked to the incident as we seek to get to the bottom of the issue,” Mr. Justice George Kingsley Koomsom, the Chairman appealed.
The Committee had resolved to investigate the issue to its logical conclusion, he assured, in an interview with the media at Ejura, after the members called on Barima Osei Hwedie II, the Ejurahene.
Mr. Justice Koomson said the Committee would discharge its duties as expected and within its terms of reference.
Therefore, those who had any information connected to the tragedy, should not hesitate to present them at the Committee’s sitting, he appealed.
The Committee begins sitting at the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi, and have 10 days within which to finish its work and submit recommendations to the government.