District Chief Executive (DCE) for Asante Akyem North, Honourable Francis Oti Boateng stormed the residence of the Asante Akyem North District Police Commander, ASP Samuel Azugu’s residence, in the company of military men, threatening to manhandle him while his wife and kids looked on.
This comes after ASP Azugu asked a police officer to escort a 70-year-old Fulani herdsman to the hospital for treatment after he was brutally beaten by some soldiers in the area.
Traditional authorities in the district gave herdsmen a seven-day ultimatum to leave the community or they would be forced to evacuate following numerous complaints about their livestock destroying people’s farms.
This sparked some tensions between members of the community and Fulani herdsmen as over 50 cattle were shot by military officers deployed by the District Security Council.
The herdsmen say the forward is not the continuous killing of the defenceless animals but rather finding an amicable resolution to end the impasse.
Francis Oti-Boateng was earlier reported to have said, “There is no single day a farmer wouldn’t come to my office to complain about animals destroying their crops adding that all attempts to get the herdsmen to control their livestock had failed.
The move has caused protests by the herdsmen in the community who accuse the military officers of using extraordinary means to evict them.
It is in the wake of this that the 70-year-old herdsman was brutally beaten and in a bid to be fair, the police commander asked that he be treated.
“I was in my office doing my job when a CHRAJ worker called me and told me that they have a case of a 70-year-old Fulani man and upon interviewing him, he told them some of the soldiers who arrested him kicked him several times resulting in chest and body pains. I asked that the man be brought to my office and when the man came to my office and after seeing him asked that he be taken to the hospital for medical examination to confirm if truly he is hurt or not and if he is hurt he be put on admission. So he was taken to the hospital in the company of a police officer and was examined by a doctor,” he recounted.
This decision did not go down well with the DCE hence going to the Police Commanders’ house to attack him. The DCE accused the commander of comprising the work of the military, alleging he had been working closely with the herdsmen, releasing arrested herdsmen who have destroyed crops with their cattle and giving them information on where the military will be doing operations.
“I had also closed and was on my way home, my wife and kids, my nephews and nieces, and their friends came from Accra to spend the holidays with me was sitting on my porch ready to eat. After three bites, I noticed the DCE approaching in his car followed by a military vehicle. The soldiers were not in uniform and were holding guns. They followed the DCE into my compound and when I saw them I thought something drastic had happened because their demeanour suggested it.”
“When they arrived I was eager to know what was happening so I offered them seats but instead, the soldiers came to stand beside me and the DCE also came at me. I then asked what the matter was then one of them started speaking to me with his left hand. I said to him, my brother, know that I am a police officer, you can’t talk to me with your left and he put his hands down and begun talking.”
“And then he said the DCE had told them I took money from the 70-year-old herdsman and released him. So I turned and looked at the DCE, and said Hon. Oti Boateng. When he wanted to become DCE, he was my very good friend so I asked him Hon. Oti Boateng, is it because of this you came along with soldiers, with guns while my wife and kids are at home? To attack me?
“And then he aggressively asked, “where is the man who was brought to you earlier in the day? I have heard you took some money from him and let him go.” They gathered the children with my wife. I even wanted to make them go inside the house but the soldiers won’t budge, telling me to stay where I was…all this while the DCE was standing there in a white suit.”
“So I pleaded with the DCE to go to the hospital to the man he is alleging I took money from and if you don’t find him then you can have a problem with me. If I was not diplomatic, the way the soldiers were behaving aggressively, I was honestly a little scared. If someone is pointing a gun at you and behaving rashly they might kill you and blame it on self-defence. So I kept pleading with them to go to the hospital and verify if the man was actually released or not and then come back to my house if they are not satisfied. So they finally agreed to go to the hospital saying they would be back.”
“I was very disturbed. My wife and kids were also very worried and I could not sleep. So I called my commander and informed him,” he said.
“They came back with the man who was apparently undergoing treatment when they forcibly took him out of the hospital. I have not seen the DCE since,” he added.