Members of Parliament (MPs) have condemned the killing of suspected criminals by the police.
They have, therefore, called for a redefinition of the use of 'minimum force' by the police to prevent abuse of the constitutional provision.
The Majority Leader and MP for Suame, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, and the MP for Tempane, as well as the Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, made the call on Wednesday following a statement by the Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, on the recent killing of two suspected armed robbers by the police in Kumasi.
Mr Dery was invited by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, to appear before Parliament to brief the House on the circumstances that led to the death of two suspects in police custody at Sepe near Asokore Mampong, in the Ashanti Region on November 10, 2017.
Mr Osei-Owusu gave the order following a request made by the MP for Asawase and Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, to the Minister for the Interior to inform the House about the developments.
The police in Kumasi gunned down two suspected armed robbers, Lukeman Mohammed and Awudu Osman, who allegedly attempted to flee when they were aiding the police to carry out a search for weapons they used for their operations in Kumasi.
They were said to have jumped from a storey building where they had hidden a pistol that they had used for separate robbery operations in the Kumasi metropolis, the Head of Public Affairs Unit of the Regional Police Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Juliana Obeng, had reportedly said.
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According to Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, per the narrative given by Alhaji Muntaka and Mr Dery, there were outstanding questions to the killing of the two suspected armed robbers that needed answers.
He said the Constitution talked about the use of force ‘reasonably justifiable’ to effect an arrest.
He, however, indicated that "the question that must be asked is what force is reasonably justified" and stressed that "we need to interrogate these matters."
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said under the circumstance of the killing of the two suspected armed robbers, it was difficult for the police to justify their action once it had led to death.
Mr Iddrisu said the killing of the two suspected armed robbers raised issues about human rights and breaches of civil rights.
He added that the suspects, especially Osman, who was said to be without any criminal records, had been denied the right to live, and, therefore, they could not even defend their rights.
Mr Iddrisu said the police could not be said to have used minimum force in dealing with the suspected armed robbers.
He wondered how seven pellets in the body of one person could be described as minimum force.
According to him, the action of the police was unprofessional.
"Fundamental human rights and freedom are what build good governance and strong democracies," he said.
Mr Iddrisu called for an independent investigation into the issue, since the police investigations could be compromised.
Mr Kpemka said because the minimum force was not defined, its application was left at the discretion of the police officer using it.
Alhaji Muntaka said he could not vouch for Mohammed because the police had claimed that he was on their wanted list.
However, he said, Osman had no criminal records and indicated that his family was devastated by his killing, since it had brought disgrace to them.
Alhaji Muntaka said Awudu's family members were not allowed to see him on two occasions while in the custody of the police only for them to be told later that he had died and that his body was in the mortuary.
He noted that in their efforts to fight crime, it was important for the police to respect the rights of citizens.
He asked the police to come out with the autopsy report and the preliminary report of the investigations to bring peace to the Aboabo extension.
Briefing the House, Mr Dery said prior to the unfortunate incident on November 7, 2017, the Ashanti Regional Police Command had for some time received reports about activities of persons in taxis and on motorbikes who picked, assaulted, robbed, raped and sometimes murdered their passengers.
He said based on intelligence received, the Anti-Armed Robbery Squad arrested three suspects, who admitted to the robbery and killing of one Cecilia Boakye Fordjour at Ridge in Kumasi.
Mr Dery stated that the three suspects further gave information of another group led by Osman, aka Awudu Ninja, and Mohammed, aka Alpha.
He said the two were arrested on November 6, 2017, but a third suspect known only as Bala, fled the scene, leaving a motorbike behind.
Mr Dery added that during the interrogation, "the two admitted their involvement in a series of robberies using motorbikes and taxis and also admitted robbing three other suspects."
Besides, he said, they disclosed that they had two foreign-made pistols which they promised to assist the police to retrieve.
He said the suspects took the police to an uncompleted building around Sepe-Timpom where they claimed they had hidden the weapons.
He said on November 7, 2017, while the police were busily searching for the weapons in the presence of the suspects, the two, who were handcuffed individually, escaped from their control and in the attempt to immobilise them, the police fired at them but Osman died on the spot while Lukeman died on the way to hospital.
Mr Dery stated that records available to the police indicated that Mohammed had been on the police wanted list since June 16, 2016 for his alleged involvement in a robbery case at a bakery at Gyedi-Kenyasi.
Mr Dery asked people with any complaints or allegations on the incident to report to the police.
He said investigations were ongoing, and indicated that where there were breaches of the rights of the suspects, the culprits would be dealt with, saying "we will make sure justice is done."
He promised to furnish the House with the autopsy report of the two suspected robbers.
Source: Daily Graphic
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