The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh, has revealed why security officers shot a crowd of protesters in Ejura in the Ashanti region with live ammunition.
Two persons succumbed to gunshot wounds while four others got critically injured Tuesday, June 29, 2021, after dozens of youth clashed with a joint force of police and military officers over the killing of a social activist, Ibrahim Mohammed.
Addressing Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday, the IGP stated that Ghana’s laws permit uniformed officers to use lethal force when their lives are in danger.
He said “Honourable Chair, you and I know that in very fluid situations, there are no hard and fast rules when the lives of the Police officers are threatened, that they should go through all these. So, depending on the nature of the situation you are dealing with, then you can go through all these.
“Let me add that if you are dealing with unarmed demonstrators, then you will not go for live amour, but when you see somebody in the crowd holding a weapon which is capable of being used to kill or injure a Police officer, our laws permit us to use lethal force to eliminate that threat to the officers on duty. So, it depends on the situation you are dealing with.”
He added “Yes, we do have a manual on the use of force. Normally, you will speak to the people through a megaphone or you shout if they can hear you and you spray water, you throw tear gas and then you use blank amour and eventually you use live amour,” he explained.
The IGP further explained that even though protestors may not be carrying deadly weapons, the officers still need to protect themselves.
“What people don’t know is ‘A’ may be armed, ‘B’ may not. So, being in the crowd doesn’t necessarily mean you know what is happening but technically, you are responsible for whatever the person is doing. So, we take steps to eliminate that threat to the officers,” he said.