Residents of Alavanyo Dzogbedze in the Volta Region are demanding a disclosure of the findings of a committee set up to probe the 13 January 2019 shooting incident that took place between a joint police-military task force on the one hand and some locals that led to the death of two persons.
The police blamed the incident on some youth that allegedly tried snatching an AK-47 rifle and some handcuffs from them, but the youth refuted the claim and indicated that the clashes ensued after an Indian Hemp cultivation deal involving the then-Regional Commander, DCOP Francis Duku, went bad.
The government set up a committee to investigate the matter and get to the bottom of the matter.
Four weeks after the committee’s work, the residents are questioning why nothing has been heard of the committee’s report.
In a statement, the residents gave a 27 February 2019 ultimatum to the authorities to make the report public or “we shall advise ourselves on the next line of action.”
Below is the full statement:
REQUEST FOR RELEASE OF INVESTIGATION REPORT – ALAVANYO SHOOTING INCIDENT
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, we welcome you all to this press conference organised by the people of Alavanyo.
We recall the unfortunate, painful and barbaric killings by the Police and the Military at Alavanyo Dzogbedze on 13th January 2019. In fact, it is also important to note that it is barely over one month when this unfortunate incident took place.
Since then, our Hon. Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Letsa had publicly announced the setting up of an investigative committee to get to the bottom of the events that led to the shooting incident that resulted in the injury and killing of some citizens and to come out with findings and recommendations. We commend him for this bold step.
Our Regional Minister assured, not only the people of Alavanyo but the entire country that the findings and recommendations of the committee would be made public and he had given the committee one week for the submission of the report.
We want to state that we trusted the sincerity of the Hon. Regional Minister when he made those pronouncements.
We are reliably informed, and more authoritatively from the Regional Minister’s media releases that the committee has submitted its report on schedule. Now, it is four (4) weeks down the line and there is dead silence on the report thereby causing an uneasy calm in the community.
The people of Alavanyo want to state without any reservation that we have exercised patience, maturity and restraint all this while and needed to be congratulated on this remarkable feat. This was because we have never doubted his integrity. Neither did we want to embarrass him with any negative reactions while the committee was executing its business.
It must be unequivocally stated that we co-operated with the committee throughout its work and gave them the peace of mind needed for such tasks. However, up to this point, one may ask;
• What at all is holding the Hon. Regional Minister from making the report public?
• Are some of the big “cats” nailed?
• Are the findings horrible against the security, which we have no doubts about?
• Is the Hon. Regional Minister afraid of stepping on the toes of some state “big fishes”?
• Are there some influences coming from the “usual top”?
The people of Alavanyo want to state categorically that enough is enough. The intimidation of the people of Alavanyo is taking unprecedented lengths and we can no longer sit unconcerned. When we, as other Ghanaians, are “pricked, we bleed.”
We are all witnesses to the everyday happenings of this country and we know how civil society, church leaders, the intelligentsia, political parties, parliamentarians, etc. react.
Who then is there for Alavanyo? Are we to take our destiny into our own hands?
All we are saying to our Hon. Regional Minister is that, please, release the report now. The feet dragging can no longer be tolerated and our patience is at its lowest ebb.
Remember, there is justice to be sought for the victims and their dependants. How can the perpetrators be roaming about freely whilst their victims continue to languish in helplessness, hopelessness and agony?
We do think, we can still extend our patience up to the 27th of February, 2019. Nevertheless, be informed that should the report still remain in your cabinet by this date, we shall advise ourselves on the next line of action.
DCOP FRANCIS DOKU’S ALLEGATION OVER ALAVANYO GUNS
The citizens of Alavanyo and the general public are particularly concerned and interested in the veracity of DCOP Francis Doku’s so-called confidential report on the manufacture of guns and stockpiling of arms in Alavanyo Dzogbedze.
Besides, of high bother to us, is DCOP Francis Doku’s statement to the media that some of his comments were off the record, particularly concerning the manufacture and stockpiling of arms, and were to be regarded as confidential matters and not to be made public by the press.
By the foregoing statements by DCOP Francis Doku, all right-thinking minds can draw the conclusion that the real statements which are subject of discussion and in the public domain are unquestionable and can be attributed to DCOP Doku as facts and not fabricated by any media house.
What dissatisfaction, therefore, is DCOP Doku expressing about the media houses that exposed his calculated attempts to paint the people of Alavanyo black in the public’s eyes?
To us, the transfer of DCOP Doku may be a calculated strategy to bury the matter, but that will never wash.
One may ask why the IGP does not consider an option of interdiction until this serious allegation is proved by DCOP Doku.
So far as we are concerned, DCOP Doku has the burden of proof in this wild accusation. We are therefore challenging him to come out with concrete facts. We are ever ready to co-operate with him and the state to get to the bottom of this matter. No Alavanyo citizen will prevent him from bringing to light the spots, in respect of the manufacture of guns and the stockpiling of arms in his allegation.
We want DCOP Doku to know that the people of Alavanyo can never be treated as kids. We shall pursue this matter to its logical conclusion.
We shall expose his hidden agenda and falsehood.
We strongly appeal to the National Security to take DCOP Doku’s allegations as a serious matter and get him to prove his case. Calling on the media by DCOP Doku to apologise for no wrong done can best be described as a gimmick.
By this release, we want the public to be informed that all blacksmith workshops in Alavanyo were vandalised by the State Security apparatus in 1983 and even common equipment/tools used to manufacture farm implements were all seized and sent to the same Volta Regional Police Command. And as we sit here, nobody knows what has become of them. With this scenario, how can the people of Alavanyo be manufacturing guns?
Alavanyo awaits DCOP Doku’s proof without which we will get him through all legitimate means to do just that. He should show us the location of the 70 AK47 assault raffles as well as the manufacturing base he alluded to. He must be led to show them to the security agencies and the media.
It will also interest the public to know that DCOP Doku claimed he had retrieved a stockpile of arms and ammunition from a hideout at Alavanyo-Dzogbedze during an intelligence-led operation, which according to him were meant to disrupt the just ended referendum on the creation of Oti Region. One may ask, ‘Of what benefit was that going to be to the people of Alavanyo when we don’t form part of that region?”
Again, we found that also to be a deliberate attempt to instigate our brothers and sisters at Nkonya against us thereby disrupting the peace we are currently enjoying.
We, therefore, demand from DCOP Francis Doku to produce the so-called arms and ammunition he retrieved from a hideout at Alavanyo-Dzogbedze for the general public to see.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you for coming and may God bless us all.