Central Commander of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General Joseph Aphour, has justified why the security operatives who were deployed to restore calm during the Ejura demonstration on Tuesday, June 29, fired at the protestors.
Giving an account of circumstances that led to the killing of two persons to the Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday, the Brigadier General said some of the agitating youth fired shots at the security agencies prompting a response from the military personnel.
According to him, personnel were left with no option other than to return fire after assessing the situation.
“We started giving a verbal warning, which is done in the military. They couldn’t heed to that [and] we fired warning shots. I think the time that we fired the warning shots, we realized that some people were then firing within the crowd at that stage it was becoming too bad.
“I think the commander at that stage then had to use minimum force by trying to fire to maim those who were involved. So if you realise we didn’t have instant deaths, they were taken to the hospital and we later heard that two had died,” he told the committee.
Brigadier General Aphour further disclosed that some two persons who were wielding weapons were arrested and handed to the police.
The Central Commander was unapologetic about the use of live bullets by the military despite the heavy criticism by a section of Ghanaians.
He insisted that the rules of engagement give the personnel the right to use live bullets when necessary.
Ones we take over at that stage, we have a procedure that we follow, a crowd dispersal procedure. And one of the procedures includes the use of live bullets after all the moderate procedures have been exhausted – he explained.
On his part, the Commander who led the battalion to Ejura, Lt. Col Kwasi Ware Peprah told the committee that the hostile nature of the youth prompted the security agencies to use force.