The Medical Superintendent at the Ejura Government Hospital, Dr. Mensah Manye, has disclosed that some irate youth stormed the hospital and forced the authorities to reluctantly release the bodies of the two men who were killed during the violence on Tuesday, June 29, for burial without the usual postmortem analysis.
He said the irate youth were getting ready to burn down the hospital if the authorities failed to release the bodies, and as a result, there was no autopsy done before the two men were buried.
Dr. Manye was testifying before the three-member committee under the chairmanship of His Lordship Justice George Kingsley Koomson of the Court of Appeal, that is probing what happened at Ejura in the Ejura/ Sekyedumase District in the Ashanti Region when the military was sent in to quell violence that had erupted, leading to the deaths of two people after the reported murder of Ibrahim Mohammed, alias Macho Kaaka, a social media activist.
“They came in and wanted to pick the body, I said no we don’t do it like that. But they realised I was delaying their time and I said ‘even for what happened, I had to call the police’… and we arranged for post mortem.”
He continued that “it was there that they shouted that they will burn down the hospital if I try and also they will actually beat us very well leading to death.”
“Because of the agitation, I released the body… quickly and reluctantly I had to release the bodies to prevent the hospital from being burnt and also save the lives of my staff and myself, so I quickly released the bodies,” he added.
When the committee asked the witness whether the bullet wounds of the deceased were from short- or long-range gunshots, he said he was not a forensic expert but could tell that the bullets penetrated the victims from the back.
Dr. Manye also indicated that one of the deceased, Abdul Nasiru Yusif, 25, was brought to the hospital already dead, and the other victim, Muntala Mohammed, died 10 minutes upon arrival.
On Thursday evening, the committee which had only 10 days to probe the issues and submit its reports, requested for an extended time due to the unravelling issues.
The Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery, then acceded to the request and extended the period for the committee.
In a letter addressed to the chairman of the three-member committee, the minister approved the extension of the working period from Friday, July 9, 2021 to Friday, July 16, 2021.
Already, the family of Macho Kaaka, has served notice that they would not appear before the committee because they say they are “less certain of the scope, focus, real intent and even the utility of the ongoing inquiry.”
In a letter addressed to the Minister of the Interior, the family claimed the work of the committee so far has not met their expectations.
“We, the family of Ibrahim ‘Kaaka’ Mohammed, regret to formally notify you of our decision to not participate in the ongoing public inquisition, which is purportedly concerned with the ‘circumstances that led to the unfortunate occurrences of Tuesday, June 29, 2021.
“However, events over the past few days, have left less certain of the scope, focus, real intent and even utility of the ongoing inquiry. As such, we feel let down in our enthusiasm for what we assumed would provide a much-needed opportunity for truth, soul-searching and institutional accountability for state-sanctioned violence,” the letter said.
It added: “In addition, having sought and obtained independent legal advice as to the work of the committee, and our rights vis-à-vis the committee, we have become apprehensive of the substantive and procedural regularity of the committee’s work. We are also now concerned that the committee’s work does not provide the appropriate framework for a full, faithful and impartial inquiry, as envisaged under Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution. In this connection, we note, in particular:
“(1) Our regret with the decision to not establish this inquiry using the powers provided for under Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution. We are concerned that the failure to institute a proper Commission of Inquiry under Article 278, means that this Committee of Inquiry does not have the powers, rights and privileges of the High Court or a Justice of the High Court at a trial. As such, the committee has no power to (a) enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath.
“Watching the proceedings over the past few days, we have found the committee’s inability to enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath as well as to compel any documents, to be very puzzling. We are also concerned that these restrictions put the committee in a position where it can neither vet, validate nor substantiate any statements made before it; nor cross-examine the testimonies of the witnesses on the basis of facts independently procured.”