The Ghana Armed Forces has disclosed that some protesters at the Ejura demonstration started firing first at the security personnel before they also responded by targeting those who shot at them.
Brigadier General Joseph Aphur, General Officer Commanding Central Command, said this when he appeared before the committee set up by the government to probe the disturbances that led to the loss of two lives in Ejura.
He told the committee that the security personnel first issued verbal warnings and fired warning shots but that did not deter the angry youth.
He said they had no choice but to fire into the crowd targeting those who were firing gunshots at them.
Brigadier Aphur explained: “When we got to the general area of the cemetery, and they [protesters] started issuing warning threats to the police and military team, we started giving verbal warnings, which we do in the military, but they didn’t listen”.
“So, we fired warning shots, and we realised that some shots were also fired from the crowd. At that stage, it was becoming too bad for civilians to be firing at the security personnel.”
“I think the commander, at that stage, then had to use minimum force by ordering his personnel to begin firing at those who were firing from the crowd to maim them”.
“After our fire, we didn’t have instant deaths. They were evacuated to the hospital, where we later heard two died”, he said.
“But, at the instant of our fire, the crowd withdrew and everything came under our control,” he added.
He further told the committee that the situation could have been worse if they had not taken those steps.
“Of course, when you [security personnel] fire warning shots, and you see people firing from the crowd, certainly you have to use live ammunition to maim them because after, we also arrested two persons with weapons that we have reported to the police.”
Wednesday is day two of the committee’s sitting.
The Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, under the instruction of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, appointed the three-member committee on Thursday, 1 July 2021, to enquire into the circumstances that led to the shooting of two civilians by military personnel during a demonstration by angry youth of Ejura, following the murder of Ibrahim Mohammed aka ‘Kaaka’, a social media activist.