On Monday, May 29th 2017, Ghana was thrown into a state of shock and sadness after a military official, Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama, was lynched by inhabitants of Denkyira-Obuasi on unusual suspicions of being an armed robber.
Though details of what triggered the lynching are still sketchy, it is believed that the Captain had gone out for a morning jog when the unfortunate incident happened.
Although the circumstances aren’t entirely clear, some reports say that he stopped to ask for directions, locals saw his gun and assumed he was an armed thief and went to alert other townspeople. Mahama was set upon by a crowd, stoned to death, and partially burnt.
Gory videos of the brutal killing, filmed on smartphones, flooded social media, along with tributes and calls for justice. One of the videos shows the beginning of the lynching: people running along a road, congregating to meet Mahama. They begin to beat him, using wooden planks to hit him and then dropping large bricks on his head. His body is dragged to a ditch. They continue to beat him. A woman crouches down to set him alight.
The lynching was met with outrage, and authorities acted quickly, dispatching the military to the town to find the perpetrators. In the following days, there was some tension between the police and the military, with the former protesting that the presence of soldiers caused people to flee, hampering investigation efforts.
Mr Fred McBagonluri, an uncle of the late military captain, reacting to the incident, said “I was about to sleep when I heard the news. It was 11 pm [on Monday evening] when a call came to my wife, his aunt, and I heard the name Adam and I knew something bad had happened to him. He was lynched by the very people he had taken an oath to protect. He had only been in the area for about three weeks”.
The Ghana Police arrested seven suspects, who were all identified through the smartphone videos of the killing. Unfortunately, no significant headway has been made in the trial after 3 solid years.
Ghana’s judicial system is notorious for being slow and unresponsive when it comes to matters involving ordinary people but is unusually swift and boisterous when it involves political criminals. We hope that for the sake of posterity and for the sanity of the late soldier’s young family, the law will one day find its teeth to bite the perpetrators of this heinous crime once and for all.