Among the findings by the committee that probed the disturbances at Ejura in the Ashanti Region, it came to the conclusion that the death of the social activist, Mohammed Ibrahim a.k.a Kaaka, was most likely the result of a family feud, not his activism.
According to the committee, Kaaka’s death served as the catalyst that triggered the disturbances which took place in Ejura, on June 28 and 29, 2021, culminating in the death of two persons and the wounding of four others.
In relation to the response of the military personnel on the 29th June, the committee said, the soldiers started firing warning shots without any verbal warnings “contrary to the evidence of the GOC (Central Command) which was to the effect that, they gave a verbal warning which was ignored before the warning shots began.”
The committee also indicted the Ejura MCE for having “failed his duty to handle the Municipality in relation to his handling and dissemination of general information and intelligent information.”
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Find the findings of the report below
1. We note from the onset that, an examination of the entire evidence obtained, clearly demonstrates that, the death of Mohammed Ibrahim (a.k.a Kaaka) served as the catalyst that triggered the disturbances which took place in Ejura, on the 28th and 29th of June 2021, culminating in the death of two persons and injuries of four others.
2. In relation to the events, leading to the death of “Kaaka”, Sahada Hudu (wife of the deceased “Kaaka”), informed the Committee that during the lifetime of her husband, he was very critical, through social media, of the lack of development in Ejura. This according to her, courted the anger of certain persons in the NPP (the Party to which her late husband belonged).
3. According to Sahada, her husband informed her about the threats issued by certain individuals against him regarding his activities on social media. In her view, the husband might have been killed as a result of his social media activities.
4. Abeewakas Umar, testified and tendered five videos and an audio to support his testimony that, the late “Kaaka” informed him that the MCE of Ejura had directed his thugs to warn “Kaaka” regarding his activities on social media. According to Abeewakas Umar, these warnings were to the effect that, if “ Kaaka” did not stop what he was doing, then he must blame himself for whatever might happen to him. The Committee examined all the five videos and the single audio presented to it by him.
5. Before dealing with these exhibits given to the Committee by Abeewakas, the Committee observed that the said Abeewakas was economical with the truth during his testimony before the Committee. This, we note, affected his credibility. Despite the fact that Abeewakas, during the demonstration on the 29th June 2021, played a leading role in the said agitations and even granted lengthy interviews to both Edward Oppong Marfo of Citi News and Erastus Asare Donkor of the Multimedia group, he cleverly and disingenuously presented facts to the Committee as if he did not take part in the protestations. However, when confronted with the videos tendered by Erastus in which he was seen defiantly demanding justice and urging the youth on, he started weeping.
6. As a matter of fact, his conduct before the Committee was disappointing to the members. In the light of the conduct exhibited by the said Abeewakas, the Committee had to examine his evidence with all the caution required in making any inferences. An examination of the five videos tendered by him have no bearing on the alleged threats on the life of “Kaaka” as stated by Abeewakas. In one of the videos “Kaaka was seen directing traffic. In two of the videos, “Kaaka” was showing and complaining about the poor sanitation in Ejura especially around the public toilet. The fourth video contains some traditional elders pouring libation in respect of the forcible re-opening of the Ejura market which had been closed during the Covid lockdown. The fifth video was of “Kaaka” complaining about the lack of development in Ejura.
7. The Committee notes that the authenticity of the videos and audio presented to it by Abeewakas is highly in doubt. These videos only surfaced after the death of “Kaaka”. The Committee further notes that the wife of “Kaaka” eloquently narrated everything she said was passed on by her late husband. In all these she said she did not report the alleged threat on the life of her husband to the police, neither did she give the names of the said persons who were threatening her husband to the police although she claimed she knew those persons.
8. The Committee further received the evidence of one Sadia Fuseini, a cotenant of the “Kaaka” family. Her testimony was that, on the night of 26th June 2021, she was performing ablution in her room, when she heard the engine sound of “Kaaka’s” motorbike. She suddenly heard a noise that aroused her suspicion. Her curiosity led her to find out what had happened in the compound of the house. She stated that, she saw the elder brother of the late “Kaaka”, called Baba Iddi, dragging the deceased “Kaaka” towards the direction of the general bathroom. Just then the light went off around the bathroom. She stated further that she raised an alarm and went to knock on the door of Sahada Hudu, the wife of “Kaaka”. Other tenants in the house, including “Kaaka’s” mother and another brother, also came out and with the assistance of a torchlight “Kaaka” was found lying down unconscious. He was later taken to the hospital.
9. The evidence of Sadia Fuseini was corroborated by another tenant, Muniratu Alhassan. She also testified that, upon hearing the alarm raised by Sadia, she went to the scene. On her way to the scene she met the elder brother of “Kaaka” Baba Iddi, leaving the scene. She further corroborated the statement of Sadia in relation to the assault on “Kaaka” that night. Although the wife of “ Kaaka” tried to deny the evidence as given by Sadia regarding the assault on her husband that night, she however admitted that Sadia came to knock at her door and informed her of the assault on “Kaaka”. She also admitted seeing her husband lying on the floor unconscious.
10. We, after careful examination of the evidence relating to the events preceding the death of “Kaaka”, are convinced that the evidence as testified to by Sadia Fuseini is more reasonably probable than the unsubstantiated evidence of Abeewakas and Sahada Hudu which are more speculative. We, accordingly find that, the death of “Kaaka” was not directly linked to his social media activism. It is more probably a family feud. This is also supported by the testimony of Aminu Mohammed a resident of Ejura and a friend of the late “Kaaka”.
11. Turning to the events that unfolded on the 28th and 29th June, 2021, the Committee received evidence from the Military, the Police, the Media (namely Multi-media and Citi News) and the Chairman of REGSEC, as well as the Ejura Traditional Council. We have examined the evidence on record and we further find that, there was no need or justification for the dispatch of a Police Riot Vehicle (water canon) to the cemetery on the morning of the 29th of June.
12. This singular act, in the given circumstances on the ground, constituted an act of provocation. Both the District Police Commander and the Deputy Regional Police Commander testified that, it was the family of “Kaaka” who requested for police protection during the burial of the deceased “Kaaka”. This piece of evidence was denied by the family members of “Kaaka” who came to testify. When asked, both the Deputy Regional Commander and the District Police Commander could not tell the Committee the name and particulars of the said family member who made this request. It is observed that, both the Diary of Action contained in “Exhibit D”, which is the docket built on the murder of “Kaaka”, and the Crime Scene Report on the murder of “Kaaka” and the demonstration at Ejura tendered as “Exhibit C” did not contain the name and particulars of any such family member who had made the request.
13. The Committee finds this piece of evidence as an afterthought. One wonders why the burial of “Kaaka” should require Police protection. In the light of the events which happened on the 28th June, it would have been convincing, if the Riot Vehicle had been deployed at either the Police Station or the Municipal Assembly.
14. Evidence before us, that is “Exhibits B-series” and “F-series” tendered by both Erastus Asare Donkor and Edward Oppong Marfo of Citi News, clearly shows that the burial of the deceased “Kaaka” was without any violence until the arrival of the Police Riot Vehicle at the cemetery. It is, therefore, our finding from the evidence before us that, the presence of the Riot Vehicle at the cemetery on the 29th of June was an act of provocation which incensed an already angry and violent youth, thereby culminating in the attack on the Police Riot Vehicle.
15. We note further that, the youth in protesting on the 29th of June on the streets of Ejura, used offensive weapons like machetes, swords, cutlasses, clubs, sticks and stones. We are convinced that these offensive weapons were not necessary for the voice or grievances of the youth to be heard.
16. In the circumstance where on the 28th June, the youth had vandalized part of the Police Station and other properties, it is expected that the security agencies should have been apprehensive of a similar conduct by the youth. This in our view, required a rapid response from the Police. The District Commander of Police Ejura, in his testimony before the Committee stated that, he called for reinforcement from the Divisional Headquarters, Asante Mampong. The Deputy Regional Police Commander also stated that further reinforcement was sent from Kumasi to Ejura. The Committee wonders the nature of all these reinforcements. Examining the evidence of the Chairman of REGSEC (Regional Minister, Ashanti), and that of the Nifahene of Ejura Traditional Council, it appears to the Committee that, the reinforcement that the Police sent to Ejura from Mampong and Kumasi was inadequate and that they were under-resourced for riot control on the 29th of June.
17. As a result of the small number of police and the lack of adequate riot control equipment and gear, the Police were overwhelmed. This obviously gave room for the marauding youth to have a field day.
18. We note further that, the Police Administration in both the District and the Divisional levels underestimated the resolve of the youth, thereby creating an atmosphere of fear and panic. A critical examination of the evidence tendered by the security officers who appeared before the Committee, clearly demonstrates that, there was no proper coordination in the handling of the situation by the Police.
19. There was no need for the security personnel who were deployed in Ejura to restore calm on the 28th June, to have left Ejura in the early hours of 29th June. The Committee finds that this created a security vacuum in the town. We are convinced that, having withdrawn the security personnel deployed on the 28th June from Ejura, the District Police Commander failed in his duty to adequately brief his superiors in the Divisional and Regional level to beef up the personnel and logistics in anticipation of any eventualities on the 29th June. We note this because, if it was in fact true that the “Kaaka” family requested for security during the burial of “Kaaka”, as alleged by the District Police Commander, that should have been an adequate signal to the District Commander to have immediately requested for the necessary logistics and men to deal with any unwarranted situation. Rather sadly, the District Commander decided to deploy the Riot Vehicle to the cemetery. We find this conduct of the District Commander to be incompetent and he was ill-prepared for the occasion.
20. We note that, the testimony of the DCOP that the Police at Ejura visited the scene of the crime (Kaaka’s house), where he was assaulted on the 26th June 2021, could not have been true. This is, because “Exhibit D” (i.e. the Docket on the murder of Kaaka) discloses that the Diary of Action begins with the date 30th June 2021, with information therein relating to the events at the cemetery on the 29th of June. The Committee also found that, in “Exhibit C” (the crime scene report) it has been indicated that, the Police visited the scene of crime on the 26th June 2021. We note that, the record in “Exhibit C” is a report by crime scene experts, which report, in our view, should be based on the Diary of Action which is prepared by the original investigators of the case. We, therefore, find that the statement made in “Exhibit C” had no factual basis in the Dairy of Action and might have been an afterthought. Further, the Nifahene had stated in his evidence that the complaint of the youth to Nana Ejurahene on the morning of 29th June was that, the police had not visited the scene of crime as at that day. In the view of the Committee, the failure of the Police to act promptly on the complaint of assault on “Kaaka” contributed to the rioting.
21. The Committee further finds that, there was no proper security briefing and intelligence gathering and sharing. From the evidence of the Regional Minister who is the Chair of the REGSEC, it is obvious that the intelligence information he received caused him to authorise the deployment of the military. He claimed to have received information from some sources in Ejura. He deemed this information to be so vital and urgent that he ordered the deployment of the military immediately. He tendered in a video “Exhibit A”. When pressed to disclose the person who gave him (the video of the attack on the Riot Vehicle) the Chairman of REGSEC declined. We note that if there was a proper sharing of intelligence information among members of REGSEC and their respective organisations this “knee-jerk” approach would not have been adopted in the handling of the situation on the ground. We note that, this escalated the situation and thereby provided grounds for the deployment of the Military.
22. The Committee also finds that, the situation became fluid and got out of hand because, the Police:
1) Did not work on their intelligence sharing
2) Failed to prepare for the situation on the ground
3) Over relied on the Military personnel and thereby failed to organise adequately in terms of personnel and equipment.
23. We note this because, from the evidence tendered by the security personnel to the Committee, one thing that was clear is that, all of them agreed that they had intelligence that the youth wanted to attack the Police Station, Municipal Assembly and other installations. If this intelligence were in existence, we are baffled that nothing more concrete was put in place to forestall the escalation of the situation than to rely on Military deployment, knowing that the Standard Operative Procedure (SOP) of the Military is such that they should not be used as a first line of riot control or crises management, but as a last resort.
24. In relation to the response of the Military personnel on the 29th June, we note from the evidence that, immediately the personnel touched down they started firing warning shots, contrary to the evidence of the GOC (Central Command) which was to the effect that, they gave a verbal warning which was ignored before the warning shots begun.
25. The testimony of the Commander of the Section (ten men) that went to Ejura, on the 29th June, belie the testimony of the GOC (Central Command). An examination of some of the video evidence, tendered by Erastus Asare Donkor show clearly that some of the Youth were throwing stones and other implements towards the direction of the military men. The Committee however do not consider these acts of the youth an extreme provocation that required the firing of live ammunition into the crowd.
26. We note that although the firing of live ammunition achieved the intended purpose of dispersing the rioters, it left in its trail, unnecessary deaths, pain and suffering on the people of Ejura. This in the view of the Committee, could have been prevented if the Police had prepared adequately in terms of personnel and logistics upon receiving the intelligence information prior to the events of 29th June, 2021.
27. We also find the Police Station currently existing in Ejura, to be small and very inadequate to serve the needs of a Municipality like Ejura.
28. We observed that, the MCE failed in his duty to handle the Municipality in relation to his handling and dissemination of general information and intelligent information. His approach to matters concerning the Municipality as the political head of the Assembly was very poorly done. No wonder he had to take cover when his Municipality was in turmoil, leaving a political vacuum and the MUSEC was bereft of any leadership and proper coordination and direction during the crises.