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24.04.2006 Crime & Punishment

Dansoman shooting incident: Family calls for independent investigation

By Graphic
Dansoman shooting incident: Family calls for independent investigation

The grieving family members of Lydia Opoku, alias Awo, one of the two women who were killed by policemen at Dansoman last Friday have called for an independent enquiry into the circumstances that led to the shooting incident.

They described the incident which led to the death of the two other men as most unfortunate and unwarranted and expressed the hope that justice would prevail at the end of the investigation.

In an interview at her residence at Zodiac, Dansoman, a suburb of Accra on Sunday, mother of Lydia, Mrs Grace Opoku described her daughter “ as the breadwinner of the house and sister Ataa ( the other lady victim) as 'Awo's friend who has been living with us for many years.”

“Awo, our breadwinner could have been saved because she was not dead at the time my husband, Paul Opoku, a contractor and I got to the scene of the incident,” she said.

Awo who often shuttle between the United States of America (USA) and the country to bring goods to sell in her shop is the first of four children of Mrs and Mrs Opoku.

Her two other sisters and a brother are currently residing in the USA. She is said to have lost her husband a year ago and her only child, according to her mother died many years ago.

“I saw Awo gasping for breath and bleeding profusely from a bullet wound on her left arm. I know that if the policeman who were guarding the Tico taxi at the time had allowed us to convey her to the hospital she would have survived,” she said.

Amidst sobs, Awo's mother who was clad in black questioned why the policemen refused to allow her to carry her daughter to the hospital.

Mrs Opoku said the two policemen were on guard duty persistently prevented her and other people who had gone around from carrying her first child to the hospital.

She said the police even threatened to shoot her if she dared go close to the taxi.

“I held one of them and screamed at him to shoot me because I was in uncontrollable pain seeing my daughter die when I knew I could easily save her. Those around me can bear testimony to the fact that Awo was not dead at the time we got to the scene,” she said.

Narrating how her daughter left the house the fateful morning, Mrs Opoku said Awo left the house in the company of Atta her very good friend who was incidentally another victim of the shooting, and her male house help to the junction where she was to board a taxi to the transport yard to continue her journey to Togo to buy some fabrics for her shop.

She said a few minutes after they had left, she heard somebody attempting to forcibly open the gate so she shouted, “Who is that”.

“When I checked, it was the house help, who said that armed robbers had attacked 'Madam' (Awo) and Ataa and bolted with their bags,” she said.

Stunned by the story she continued “I immediately called my husband to accompany me to the roadside to verify things for ourselves. But Awo and Atta were nowhere to be found.”

Mrs Opoku said they later returned home but as her attempt to find the telephone numbers of the police proved futile, they went back to the street to locate them.

She said as they got closer to the street, they saw a crowd and some of the people told them “Your daughters have been killed by the police and are lying in a Tico taxi a few metres away.”

Mrs Opoku said although she panicked immediately, she did not want to believe what she had heard, until she saw them in the taxi.

“I hit my chest in shock and called out Awo's name aloud but she would not respond, although she was panting,” she said.

Mrs Opoku said it was at this moment that she attempted to call for help to get her out to the hospital but the two policemen on guard at the time would not allow her.

“We left the scene for a while and on return, I went back to check on her but unfortunately she had given up her struggle for survival,” she said.

“In the case of Ataa, her face was disfigured because she was shot in the head from behind so I believe she died instantly,” she said.

“I trust that the investigations will unravel the whole story behind the brutal killing of my daughter, her friend and the two men who were with them in the taxi,” she said.