The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Upper Denkyira West, Mr Daniel Appianin, has said that Captain Maxwell Mahama, who was lynched on Monday at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region, was part of some military personnel who were protecting Chinese small-scale illegal miners (galamseyers) in a distant forest at Amenase.
Mr Appianin told Accra-based Citi FM’s Bernard Avle on Tuesday morning that contrary to assertions by the spokesperson of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col Eric Aggrey-Quarshie, that Captain Mahama was part of a military detachment in the area to fight galamsey, he [Captain Mahama] was rather part of a group of military personnel who were protecting illegal miners.
Captain Maxwell’s uncle, Fred McBagonluri had also told Citi FM that his nephew was on an anti-galamsey mission. “He told us that there was some galamsey activities happening in the area which is like the epicentre of this criminal enterprise and that upon their arrival, they realised that the perpetrators of this trade have actually moved their equipment further into the forest and now it was really difficult for them to really get access to them. They can hear machines operating but far inside the forest. These were his last words to a friend of mine.”
According to the DCE, after a highway robbery incident in the area three days ago by armed men, the townsfolk became vigilant about criminals and their operations, thus, their suspicion of Captain Mahama as an armed robber after spotting a pistol on him as he jogged through the town on Monday dawn.
“… I had a call that they had arrested one of the armed robbers, armed and in the cause of exchanging gunshots with them, they’ve killed him. I called my police commander, he told me they’ve gone to the scene, they’ve taken the body and that he will brief me afterwards. …In the evening, around 6pm, 7pm, I had information that the supposed armed robber was not [an armed robber] but he was a military man – one of those military men who are protecting the small-scale miners in that forest. I’m talking about very far distance from where the forest is and where the incident took place. The incident took place at Denkyira Obuasi, a very far, long distance to Amenase where the forest is, where those military men are,” Mr Appianin said.
Before the Citi FM interview, Mr Appianin had told Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem on Monday that Captain Mahama “was the leader of the soldiers protecting the Chinese galamseyers, anyone can confirm it from the police hierarchy here, and the BNI as well…” contrary to GAF’s assertion that he was the Commander to a Special Military Detachment at Denkyira Obuasi in the Upper Denkyira West district.
Meanwhile, 35 soldiers and two military officers have been deployed to Denkyira Obuasi as GAF conducts a swoop in search of the killers of Captain Mahama, who was stoned to death and set alight.
Capt Mahama was lynched on suspicion that he was an armed robber after a group of residents from whom he asked for directions during a Monday dawn jogging session spotted the pistol on him.
The deceased army officer, who was not in any military attire at the time, was attacked by residents allegedly organised by the Assemblyman of the area.
The assemblyman, identified as William Baah, reported himself to the police on the same morning of the incident.
Meanwhile, an ex-army officer, Capt Joel Sowu (rtd), has condemned the lynching of Capt Mahama of the 5 Battalion of Infantry.
In the view of Capt Sowu (rtd), President Nana Akufo-Addo must intervene immediately. “What is happening to our assemblymen? Why? They are supposed to be on the side of the law, so, if women call you that they suspect somebody to be an armed robber, do you just call people to lynch him? What authority have you got as an assemblyman to order people to lynch him? Are we in a mob-rule situation? I think the president would have to come hard on these two people [assemblymen] … he has to come hard on it because the code of conduct of our assemblymen and public officers will have to be higher than the ordinary men because if they are not disciplined and they don’t have that self-discipline and self-control and they can just think that because ‘I’ve been given power, I’ve been appointed by the president,therefore, I’m the president or I’m the law unto myself’, their minds have to be disabused of this as quickly as possible before this country degenerates into mob rule,” he noted.