Alhaji Issah Mobila There was 'no show' yesterday for the three military officers standing trial for allegedly killing Alhaji Issah Mobila, a Convention People's Party (CPP) stalwart, at the Tamale High Court.
Corporal Appiah Yaw with service number 187484, Private Eric Madzoka with service number 183364 and Private Goka Seth also with service number 183366 were expected to make their second appearance in court on charges of murder and conspiracy against the Criminal Offence Act 1960 and Act 29 but reasons were not accounted for the absence.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Gertrude Aikins of the Attorney General's Department, was the prosecutor for the case while the case was presided over by Justice Lawrence L. Mensah.
On realization that the defendants were not in court, the judge directed the Commanding Officer of the 6th Infantry Battalion (6BN), Lt Colonel Aphour to immediately release the suspects to the Tamale central prisons to enable them make their appearance on the 28th, 29th and 30th of this month for hearing, and accordingly adjourned the case.
It would be recalled that Alhaji Issah Mobila was reported dead on 9th December 2004, soon after the presidential and parliamentary elections when he was arrested by the Tamale Police under the leadership of Commissioner of Police (COP) Ephram Oko Brakatu (now at the Police Headquarters in Accra) and handed over to the military at the Kamina Barracks for allegedly possessing arms.
It was alleged that he was severely brutalized by his captors, leading to his untimely death; sparking a lot of controversy among residents. The military was fingered for their alleged involvement since he was under their detention.
A subsequent postmortem report from the Tamale Teaching Hospital on the deceased indicated that he died as a result of “collapsed lung, broken ribs and bruises over his body”.
The three officers were therefore cited for their alleged roles in his death as family members demanded justice.
The then government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), under the leadership of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, was largely blamed by a section of the public especially members of the then opposition NDC and the CPP for the death of Alhaji Issah Mobila.
Since his death in 2004, the case was heard once in the Tamale High Court in 2006 and was adjourned thereafter until yesterday. Due to public interest in the matter, the court premises as at 9:30am yesterday was filled to capacity.
Some NDC supporters who were among the many who besieged the court premises to hear proceedings were expressing fears that the suspects had run out of the country.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale