The Justice Alliance has petitioned the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery, to establish a commission of inquiry into the murders of three Japekrom residents in Jaman South on October 17, 2018, by some New Drobo residents.
The murders marked the end of a solemn commemorative walk by Japekrom chiefs and people to Mpuasu, their ancestral home, as part of the Munufie Yam Festival.
Despite being escorted by police from the then Brong Ahafo Regional headquarters, Berekum Divisional Command, and Drobo District Command to perform the rites in Mpuasu, they were abruptly abandoned at New Drobo, where a group of men had mounted a barrier.
Three people were killed when gunshots were fired into the crowd, including a one-year-old baby. Others were injured to varying degrees.
“Unfortunately, this peaceful commemorative cultural walk ended in bloodshed,” according to the petition.
“Known assailants, including Kwame Baah, Yaw Tawiah, Rashid (all of whom were apprehended by the police), and their accomplices ambushed the procession, firing gunshots into the crowd from a story-building on the roadside (eyewitness and police accounts), killing three (3) natives, including a one-year-old baby, the youth chief of Japekrom, and a Senior High School Student.”
Despite the Minister’s commendable initiative in imposing a dawn-to-dusk curfew, the petition requests the establishment of a commission of inquiry.
“We are requesting, through this petition, that the Honourable Minister establish a Commission of Enquiry, independent of the stalled criminal investigations by the Police, to determine the underlying motivations for the unprovoked violence by the people of New Drobo against natives of the Jaman South Capital area.”
Find the petition below:
The Honourable Minister
Ministry of the Interior,
OPEN PETITION FOR THE SETTING UP OF A COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY TO LOOK INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO THE MURDER OF THREE (3) NATIVES OF JAPEKROM BY ASSAILANTS AT NEW DROBO
On behalf of the Justice Alliance of the Jaman South Municipality of the Bono region, we present complements to the office of the Minister of the Interior and do submit this petition in reference to the GRUESOME MURDER of THREE INNOCENT PEOPLE from Japekrom at New Drobo on the 17th October 2018.
You will recall that as part of the cerebration of the 2018 version of the annual Munufie Yam Festival, the Chiefs and People (elders, the elderly, young wo-men and children) of the Mpuasu-Japekrom Traditional area travelled to Mpuasu, their ancestral home on 17th October 2018, to perform some cultural rites in company of police personnel from Sunyani Regional Headquaters, Berekum Divisional and Drobo District Police Service in Two Pickup Trucks.
On their return with the crowd in procession, the Police Officers suddenly jumped into their trucks and took-off without any word to the people or the organizers. Just about that time, the crowd walked to a group of men who had mounted a barrier at New Drobo preventing them from passing by, and before they could negotiate their way through, gunshots started falling on the crowd from people hiding in a nearby story-building (eyewitness and police account).
Unfortunately, this peaceful commemorative cultural walk ended in bloodshed. Known assailants, including Kwame Baah, Yaw Tawiah, Rashid (all were arrested by the police), etc., and their accomplices, ambushed the procession, firing gunshots from a story-building at the roadside (eyewitness and police accounts) into the crowd, killing three (3) natives, including a one-year-old baby, the youth chief of Japekrom and a Senior High School Student. Dozens more people suffered gunshot wounds while other hundreds sustained various degrees of injuries as they ran for their lives. Some of the pilgrims, including old women, had to hide in the bush from about 5:20pm when the crime occurred till 10:00am the next morning when they had military escort to their homes.
Whilst commending the Interior Minister and the Brong-Ahafo Security Council for the prompt action taken to prevent mayhem in the municipality by imposing a dawn-to-dusk curfew and the arrest of three of the murderers, we however wish to suggest that the imposition of curfew alone WILL IN NO WAY RESOLVE THE FUNDAMENTAL PRECURSOR(s) TO THIS COWARDLY ACT BY THE CHIEFS AND PEOPLE OF NEW DROBO.
May it also be noted that the quest for JUSTICE for the deceased and wounded natives is one engrained in the consciousness of the Natives (the living and so shall it be for the yet unborn). The cowardly murders of the 17th October 2018, was a planned and orchestrated unprovoked attack and must be seen as such.
We are by this petition appealing to the Honourable Minister for the setting up of a Commission of Enquiry, independent of the stalled criminal investigations by the Police, to establish the underlying motivations for the unprovoked violence by the people of New Drobo against natives of the lands of the Jaman South Capital area.
The attention of the Honourable Minister is being brought to the basis for our frustration and call for a Commission of Enquiry into the murders of the 17th October 2018 and prosecutions concurrently.
- It would be recalled that, on the 1st May 2004, Yaw Tawiah, a prominent associate of the Drobohene shot at natives of Japekrom whose farmland at New Drobo was being encroached on by unknown settlers from the latter community. The said case is still under lock at the Attorney General Department at Sunyani without prosecution.
- During the Munufie Festival celebration of 2016, a diplomatic attempt to invite the Drobo Traditional Council to the festival was met by the fatal beating of the messenger sent by the Omanhene of Mpuasu-Japekrom and the customary schnapps smashed by Yaw Tawiah, among others. The case has since stalled at Berekum Circuit Court without prosecution.
- On the 20th August 2018, the people of New Drobo assaulted the family and property of the Pastor of the True Faith Church, burning down his church, destroying his house and chasing the inhabitants into the bush. Reason: the Pastor was noted for praying for the people of Japekrom. Unfortunately, the Pastor’s wife lost her twin babies consequent to the assault. As at today, the Pastor and his family are in refuge at Japekrom. This case is still at the Courts.
- It may also be recalled that on the 18th October 2018, a day after the gruesome murder under reference, and in defense of the shameful act, the Drobo Traditional Council issued a Press Statement (copy attached) stating; “the shooting was an act of self-defense”.
- Again, at a Court hearing at the Berekum Magistrate Court, a Lawyer for three suspects arrested by the Police in connection with the murder stated to the shock of all that, the said barrier (at which point the shooting started) was mounted because “the of Japekrom were walking through New Drobo”.
Further to the above, it is obvious that the murder of the 17th October 2018 was planned and premised on an underlying laxity towards the prosecution of criminal acts involving the Drobos at New Drobo who consider violence as their sole preserve.
It is our firm conviction that the establishment of an independent Commission of Enquiry shall unearth the underlying triggers of these unprovoked attacks by the people of New Drobo on Natives of the lands on which they are and remain settlors, and thus make necessary proposals to maintain the peaceful coexistence of old.
In lieu of the foregoing, the above guiding questions beg for responses.
- Why did the Police who had been with the celebrants suddenly abandon the procession at the point of the gunshots?
- Who ordered the Police to abandon the celebrants?
- Why were the Police ordered to abandon the procession at the fatal moment?
- What is the status of the criminal investigations into the 3 Murders of 17th October 2018 at New Drobo?
In pursuit of Justice!!
The Justice Alliance
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