About 80 men have been rounded up in Diaso and surrounding areas in the Denkyira Obuasi community by several “fully armed” soldiers who stormed the place on Tuesday, 30 May following the lynching of Captain Maxwell Mahama, who, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) said, had been detailed to the area to fight illegal small-scale mining (galamsey), District Chief Executive of Upper Denkyira West, Daniel Appianin has said.
Mr Appianin said the soldiers were brutalising the entire community including women and children.
“They’ve arrested a lot of men, they’ve beaten some of them, they’ve camped women and children in a church,” he reported to Accra-based Citi FM on Tuesday.
“…Some have been assaulted. I’ve seen it myself. I’ve seen about 80 men lined up, sitting on the floor, some beaten, all sorts of things, the women and children, they’ve camped them in a room. They are saying unless they get their gun they are not leaving them,” he narrated.
Captain Mahama, who was jogging on Monday dawn, was mistaken by the townsfolk to be an armed robber after the pistol he was carrying during his morning workout was spotted by some women from whom he had sought directions. His body was subsequently set alight.
The DCE, however, said the military must not use the death of their colleague to brutalise the defenceless in the community. “What happened when the robbery case happened? Did we realise we need to bring security to come and protect the people? One person is dead and it is bringing the entire military to the place. This is the country we are living in,” Mr Appianin lamented.
He said: “Apart from the military personnel present and other policemen there and those they [military] have arrested, the town is absolutely empty,” adding: “I’m absolutely worried for a lot of reasons. I’m not happy about the death of that security man, may his soul rest in peace, but I think there are a lot of questions we need to ask so that it shouldn’t be like because somebody is dead, we are interested in only his death.
“What are the precedents, what are the events that have happened all this while, especially with regard to their presence in the forest? A lot of issues, the robbery case that happened, we must exercise restraint,” he warned, complaining that the military was attacking the whole community and doing “all sorts of things” because one of theirs has been killed.
According to him, the soldiers have vowed not to leave the townsfolk alone until they have recovered the deceased officer’s weapon.