Detachments from the Police Buffalo Unit in Kumasi and the military have been dispatched to Offinso in the Ashanti region, to help restore the peace after the police shot three members of an irate youth who were protesting persistent vehicular knockdown of residents. The youth, mainly from Sabon, a zongo community at Offinso, had barricaded the main Kumasi–Techiman road, and when the police moved in to dismantle it, they were said to have shot three of them without any provocation.

The shooting has elicited condemnation from the Offinso Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Baffour Kese Amankwah, who described the action of the policemen as unauthorised.

“They came from Kumasi without authority. I suspect someone called them on phone and when they came, they just started shooting into the harmless demonstrators,” the MCE who claimed to be an eyewitness to the shooting, said.

Mr Amankwah explained that neither he nor the municipal police authorities were aware of the coming of the police from Kumasi in contravention of laid-down rules.

“Their action was distasteful and unprofessional to say the least,” the MCE said.

The three victims who were identified as Ibrahim, Mutarla and Mamouda, are in critical conditions. They sustained injuries in the midsection, head and knee respectively. After brief medication at the local St. Patrick Hospital they were referred to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

A resident of the area, Awal Mohammed, said that, this year alone about 20 people have been knocked down by over-speeding vehicles on the highway with some resulting in death. Awal said the latest victim of the vehicular knockdowns was his father, Baba Seidu, 54, who was killed by a speeding car last Monday.

He explained attempts by the community to get the authorities to construct speed checks in the area to help reduce accidents have failed. Therefore when the latest person was killed, they decided to pour out their anger by blocking the main road.

According to the residents, until they got firm assurance from the authorities there was no way they were going to remove the barricade. However, the MCE said when he got wind of the demonstration, he went there to try to talk to the youth to remove the blockade to allow for the free flow of vehicles, scores of which had piled up at each end of the barricade.

He said while he was speaking to the leaders of the youth, he saw a police vehicle arrive at the scene and all of a sudden the policemen emerged firing indiscriminately. In the course of the shooting three persons were wounded and were rushed to the hospital. Mr Amankwah said, three of the policemen who were involved in the shooting came to his office after the act “and I poured out my disappointment.”

The MCE indicated that he advised them to find a way out of the town to prevent further disturbances, while his office seek the next line of action.



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