Four soldiers from the 4th Battalion of Infantry in Kumasi have allegedly assaulted a 22-year-old driver’s mate, leading to his death at Fawoman, near Brosase in the Bekwai municipality in the Ashanti Region.
The soldiers are said to have beaten the mate, identified as Prince Kwaku Manu, on suspicion that he had removed a wooden board which they had used to construct a makeshift speed hump in front of their checkpoint at Brosase.
The speed hump was intended to reduce the generation of dust on the untarred road on which the checkpoint was located.
The soldiers were engaged by the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission to check illegal chainsaw operators.
Cause of assault
At 8 a.m. on Monday, January 26, 2015, Manu and his master, Kennedy Mensah, were carrying a musical system from Fawoman to Bekwai.
On reaching Brosase, where the soldiers had built two small speed humps with wood and sand in front of their checkpoint, one piece of wood entangled their vehicle.
Mensah then instructed Manu to get down and remove the wood to enable him to drive over the hump. After carrying out the order of his master, Manu later in the evening found himself in trouble.
Later that day, while Manu was returning from work and walking in the vicinity of the Bekwai Railway Station, someone, identified only as Joe, a worker at a washing bay who happened to be the errand boy of the soldiers, pointed him out to the soldiers, who were in two pick-ups returning from a trip, that he was the one who had removed the wood from the road.
The soldiers then jumped out of their vehicles and, without any provocation or questioning, pounced on Manu and beat him mercilessly until he collapsed. After he had been revived by sympathisers, Manu reported the case to the Bekwai Police, where he was issued with a medical form to go to hospital.
On Wednesday, January 28, a delegation from the Forestry Services Division visited Manu and pleaded for the matter to be settled at home.
He agreed, after the division had paid for his medical bills, which amounted to GH¢200.
He was also given GH¢50 as compensation, after which Manu and the Forestry Services Division signed settlement documents.
Two days later, after complaining of pains in his lower abdomen, Manu collapsed at home around 9 p.m. and was rushed to the Kotwea Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The body has since been deposited at the mortuary of the Bekwai Government Hospital.
When the Daily Graphic contacted the Bekwai Police, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Allen Pogtaah, the Bekwai Divisional Crime Officer, confirmed the story and said investigations had begun.
He said the the Bekwai Police had written to the Regional Police Command seeking instruction on the next line of action.