13 February 2013

Ghana: Man Killed At Vea

The Police Command in the Upper East Region has commenced investigations into a shooting incident at Vea in the Bongo District that led to the death of a final year student of the University of Education, Winneba.

The police last Wednesday allegedly shot and killed Gideon Aniah who was among angry community members protesting against a contractor over his (contractor's) attempts to break a rock regarded as a god in the community's shrine, for maintenance work at the banks of the Vea Irrigation Dam.

Controversy over the breaking of the purported rock god has been raging since 2012, and several attempts by the contractor to break the rock were abortive. But, on Wednesday morning, the contractor went to the site with police protection to make another attempt at breaking the rock - a move the community members tried to resist in a protest, since the contractor had rejected alternative rocks they offered him.

Amidst agitation by the community members, the police fired several warning shots to disperse the angry protesters, some of who pelted the police with stones. Apparently, live bullets were also fired into the angry protesters, leading to the death of Mr. Aniah.

The Upper East Region Commander of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Bright Oduro, confirmed the incident in an interview with The Chronicle, and said body of the deceased had been deposited at the mortuary, while investigations continue.

He admitted that his men were at the site to provide security to enable the contractor carry out his work. He also admitted that the wounds the deceased sustained before he died were AK 47 rifle bullets, which his men were armed with, but stated that there were varied accounts of the circumstances leading to his death, which the police were still investigating.

DCOP Oduro explained that the matter of providing security to enable the contractor break the purported god rock was arrived at a Regional Security Council (REGSEC) meeting, after it was revealed that the contracting firm, Eunitack Services Limited, had made payment for the gods to be pacified, as was demanded by the land owners.

Meanwhile, the Commander said on Thursday, his men, backed by the military, were at the site again to provide the security for the contractor, who continued with the breaking of the rock.

While residents of Vea who were at the scene of the incident insist they can identify the police officer who shot and killed Gideon, and are therefore, seeking justice.

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