23 soldiers cleared of wrongdoing

A military inquiry that investigated some 23 soldiers for their roles in the shooting and killing of one person at Kasoa Millennium City last year has cleared them of any wrongdoing.

The investigation concluded that the soldiers were only defending themselves when they shot at three people, during a demolition exercise by the 21st Century Construction Company.

The demolition exercise turned bloody when one person, Michael Darko, was reportedly killed, while two others sustained injuries after military personnel accompanying the demolition team, fired warning shots to disperse residents who were protesting against the exercise.

The military, subsequently, set up an investigative team to ascertain the actual cause of Darko’s  death.

Darko  went into coma when he was hit by what residents suspect was a bullet at the back of his head.

However, a copy of the autopsy report signed by Dr. L. Edusei, according to Joy News, gave two reasons for the Darko death: high velocity gunshot injury and fractured skull with cerebral convulsion.

Military Police sources, said the soldiers told investigators they were in the area to maintain order but the crowd attacked them with sticks and stones.

The soldiers said they responded with fire — 10 bullets in all — because they were “frightened” and feared they would have been lynched if they had not acted.

The Head of Public Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel Eric Aggrey Quarshie, told Joy News the residents were incited against the soldiers, a claim the residents denied.

Col. Quarshie admitted there were excesses from the military men, but said they did not deserve to be kicked out of the force.

Joy News gathered that the Homicide Unit of the Ghana Police Service was also conducting a parallel criminal investigation into the incident, details of which was yet to be made available.

Meanwhile, a brother of the deceased, Samuel, said the family was disappointed with the outcome of the military inquiry.

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