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07.04.2004 Regional News

Pay us compensation for death of our relatives- Witnesses

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Kumasi, April 7, GNA- Relatives of two men who died in separate motor accidents during the cocoa evacuation exercise in 1982 in the Offinso District, have appealed to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) for the payment of compensation for their dead relatives.

They insist that apart from an amount of 150,000 cedis made available towards the purchase of coffins and other funeral expenses, they were not given any compensation in spite of promises made by the erstwhile PNDC.

Mr Kwadwo Amponsah, a farmer at Offinso told the Commission at its sitting in Kumasi on Wednesday, that his son, Samuel Atuahene fell from an articulated truck and died after soldiers had forced him to go and evacuate cocoa.

He said his late son who was a tutor at the Offinso Training College, set off for school on that fateful day in the morning when soldiers in a military truck stopped and ordered him to join a group of people to take part in cocoa evacuation.

Even though Atuahene explained to them that he was on his way to teach, they did not agree.

He said the late son was left with no other option but to do as the soldiers told him.

They had gone to load cocoa into an articulated truck and was sitting on the cocoa when he fell off the moving truck and died. Mr Amponsah said a joint state funeral was held for Atuahene and Andrews Kwasi Ampofo who also died in a separate accident.

Mr Paul Richie Ampofo, the senior brother of the late Ampofo, testifying before the Commission, said the deceased had at the time returned from Nigeria.

He said on Friday, March 19, 1982, the late brother had prepared to travel and was standing by the road side at Offinso Old Town when soldiers arrived in a military truck and asked him to get on board to join others in cocoa evacuation at the Bonsua village near Offinso.

They would not accept his explanation that he was travelling and forced him to take part in the exercise.

Witness said after having loaded cocoa onto the trucks, the vehicle on which the late Ampofo was travelling got involved in an accident and he was the only person killed.

At that time he had three children with the wife, Frema, the youngest being only two weeks old, witness said. Sitting ends tomorrow.

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