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29.11.2007 Crime & Punishment

Horror In Tamale: Soldier Runs Amok

A gun-wielding Army corporal who went berserk and engaged in a shooting spree, resulting in the death of a sergeant at the Kamina Barracks in Tamale, has been arrested.

Corporal Benjamin Mensah, alias Kwadwo Kwakye, had, in the process, seriously wounded the wife and daughter of Stanley Afriyie, the sergeant.

He was apprehended by some residents of Zogyuri, near the barracks, before he could visit any further mayhem on the community.

He is presently in military custody, assisting the military and the police in their investigations into the incident.
The incident, which occurred on Tuesday, sent shock waves through the hitherto serene military vicinity and surrounding communities.

When the Daily Graphic visited the hospital yesterday, efforts were being made to airlift Sergeant Afriyie's injured wife and daughter from the Tamale Regional Hospital to the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

A heavy military presence at the Tamale Hospital, however, prevented this reporter and his cameraman from interviewing or taking shots of the victims.

The Military Command also refused to comment on the issue, saying it was still conducting investigations into the matter.

However, a source at the barracks told the Daily Graphic that money could be the cause of Corporal Mensah's action.
It was alleged that Sergeant Afriyie owed the suspect an undisclosed amount of money which had remained unpaid over a period.

According to the source, several efforts by Corporal Mensah to retrieve his money had not been successful, resulting in a heated argument between them last Tuesday.

Some military officers described the incident as most unfortunate and an affront to the dictates of strict military regulations that guided the conduct of personnel and their families at the barracks.

Sergeant Afriyie's body has been deposited at the morgue of the Tamale Regional Hospital awaiting autopsy. Meanwhile, Michael Donkor reports that the Deputy Director of the Ghana Armed Forces Public Relations Unit, Lt. Col. Comfort Ankomah-Danso, said the matter had been handed over to the Homicide Unit of the Ghana Police Service for further investigations, while the Military Police also continued with their investigations.

She explained that the matter was referred to the police because the military did not handle murder cases.
He said Sergeant Afriyie, who was a bandsman, had been in the Military for the past 15 years, while Corporal Mensah was a rifle man with the Sixth Battalion of Infantry.

Story by Zakaria Alhassan,