The Deputy police commander of the Ashanti Region, DCOP David Agyeman Adjem, has told the Ejura shooting committee that the assumption that the presence of the military would scare away the protesters was why the command requested the army’s assistance during the recent demonstration at which two marchers were shot and killed.
He said the police had exhausted the equipment at their disposal and needed support from the military with the mistaken assumption to scare the demonstrators away, looking at the intensity of the situation.
“In the past, we’ve had incidents; anytime they had seen the military, normally they would calm down and some level of peace would have been restored but this time I think we miscalculated, and we take responsibility for that,” DCOP Adjem said.
DCOP Adjem also said the police did not expect the situation to escalate following the involvement of the soldiers but added that it was “in tune with our SOP [standard operating procedure].”
“We didn’t anticipate that it would degenerate into shooting. Our objective was first to protect lives and property and to maintain law and order,” he added.
DCOP Adjem further disclosed that during the demonstration, they arrested two persons with weapons, who are currently in their custody.
He said these on Wednesday, 7 July 2021, the second day of the committee’s hearing on the Ejura disturbances.
Earlier in the day, the commanding officer of 4BN, Lieutenant Colonel Kwasi Ware Peprah, told the three-member committee that he suspects the bullets that killed the two marchers could have been from their colleague gun-toting demonstrators.
“The aim was not to kill”, he told the committee, adding: “It was just unfortunate”.
“If the aim was to kill, I would have gotten not less than 100 people dying”, Lt. Col. Peprah told the committee.
“As a matter of fact”, he noted, “I even suspect the weapons that fired from the protesters might have killed one of them”.
According to him, “the soldiers started firing into the air” but “If you are not a professional and there’s another rifle firing, you wouldn’t know and that is how come some people are saying that they were not handling weapons”.
“When an M16 rifle fires, I know. When a G3 rifle fires, I know. But the ordinary civilian doesn’t know. The media wouldn’t know. All you hear is gunshots into the air and it started when the soldiers came, so, you assume that it’s only soldiers who are firing”, Lt Col Peprah said.