In fulfilment of its promise, the government has paid GH¢1.750 million to the families of the seven Asawase youth who were killed in a shootout with the police at Manso Nkwanta in the Ashanti Region in July 2018.
Each family received a cheque for GH¢250,000, as promised by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in Kumasi in January 2019.
The Minister for Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, presented the cheques to the families of the deceased on behalf of the President at a ceremony in Kumasi yesterday.
In July last year, the police, claiming to have acted on a tip-off, engaged in a shootout with the victims, leading to their death.
All the seven were residents of Asawase in the Asokore-Mampong municipality.
The deceased were Musah Seidu, Mohammed Bashir Musah, Mohammed Kamal, Babonte Farar, Razak Sulley, Oliver Konlang and Abdul Hanan Bashir.
The identity of the seventh person was not known to the ‘Daily Graphic’ as of the time of filing this report.
The incident occurred after a policeman had been shot dead by suspected armed robbers at Ayirebikrom, near Manso Nkwanta.
The killing of the seven was believed to be a revenge attack by the police for the death of their friend, a situation which sparked agitation among Zongo communities in the Kumasi metropolis.
It took the effort of Zongo leaders to calm down the youth not to resort to violence and take the law into their own hands.
While the Ashanti Regional Police Command insisted that the seven were armed robbers who were shot when they exchanged fire with the police, the Asawase youth claimed that the seven were allegedly mistaken by the police for the eight masked armed robbers who had earlier attacked a Sprinter bus and had, in the process, shot and killed a policeman at Ayirebikrom.
Subsequently, the Zongo leadership petitioned the government and the Ghana Police Service to investigate the killing of their kith and kin, whose families vehemently denied that they were armed robbers.
The government later set up a five-member committee on July 17, 2018, to investigate the death of the seven and the role of the police in the incident.
The members of the committee were Mr Justice Obeng Diawuo, a justice of the High Court; Rt Rev. Prof. Osei-Safo Kantanka, Methodist Bishop; Sheik Ahmed Seidu, Executive Secretary, Office of the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam; David Adu-Osei, Ashanti Regional BNI Commander, and Emelia Ayebenu Botchway, the acting Ashanti Regional Coordinating Director.
The committee’s findings led to the interdiction of the 21 policemen who took part in the exercise that led to the death of the seven.
A statement signed by Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, in Accra on Monday, November 19, 2018, said the committee’s report indicated that there was no fact establishing that the deceased persons were armed robbers who had engaged in an exchange of fire with the police.
Presenting the cheques, Dr Abdul-Hamid told Zongo youth that each time any politician requested their services to cause mayhem, they should ask that person to request his children to lead in that direction.
He said never again should any Muslim or Zongo youth be used for individual selfish political gain.
The minister and leaders of Zongo communities cautioned the youth against the use of illicit drugs, especially tramadol.
They contended that the use of hard drugs, including tramadol, was what influenced the youth to cause confusion in some parts of the country and it was time to stop the practice.