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12 Killers of Major Mahama Jailed for Life, 2 Walk Free

Justice finally served in the brutal lynching of a Ghanaian soldier in 2017

by Victor Adetimilehin

A Ghanaian court delivered the long-awaited verdict in the case of the murder of Major Maxwell Adams Mahama. The court sentenced twelve of the 14 accused to life imprisonment, while two were acquitted and discharged.

Major Mahama was the commander of a military detachment stationed at Diaso in the Central Region to check illegal mining activities. A mob at Denkyira Obuasi attacked him on May 29, 2017, mistaking him for an armed robber and beating him to death with clubs, cement blocks, and machetes. They also burnt part of his body.

The gruesome incident sparked national outrage and condemnation and prompted the government to launch a crackdown on illegal mining, also known as galamsey. Major Mahama was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major and given a state burial. He left behind a widow and two children.

A landmark trial

The trial of the 14 suspects began in 2018 and lasted for nearly seven years. The prosecution presented 26 witnesses and 113 exhibits to prove their case, while the defense lawyers argued that their clients were innocent and acted in self-defense.

The jury, composed of seven members, deliberated for about an hour before returning their verdicts. They found 12 of the accused guilty of abetment, conspiracy, and murder of Major Mahama, and recommended life imprisonment for them. They are: William Baah, the former assemblyman of Denkyira Obuasi, Bernard Asamoah, alias Daddy, Kofi Nyame, alias Abortion, Akwasi Baah, alias Baya, Kwame Tuffuor, alias Asowonan, Joseph Appiah Kubi, alias Kum Dede, Michael Anim, alias Nana Anim, John Boasie, alias Abodie, Akwasi Asante, alias Kwasi Asante, Charles Kwaning, alias Kwesi Boah, Emmanuel Baidoo, alias Kaaka and Kwadwo Animah, alias Kojo Animah

The jury, however, acquitted and discharged two of the accused, Bismark Donkor and Bismarck Abanga, for lack of evidence.

The presiding judge, Justice Mariama Owusu, a justice of the Supreme Court sitting as an additional High Court judge, accepted the jury’s verdict and sentenced the 12 convicts accordingly. She said the sentence was to serve as a deterrent to others who may engage in such barbaric acts.

A mixed reaction

The verdict has elicited mixed reactions from the public and the families of the victim and the accused. Some have hailed it as a victory for justice and the rule of law, while others have expressed dissatisfaction and sympathy.

The widow of Major Mahama, Barbara Mahama, said she was happy. She thanked God, the state, the judiciary, and all who supported her and her children throughout the ordeal. She said she had forgiven the killers and prayed for God’s mercy for them.

On the other hand, the convicts’ families expressed shock and said they would appeal the verdict and seek a review of the sentence.

The verdict has also renewed the call for peace and reconciliation among the people of Denkyira Obuasi and the military.

Nana Agyei Nkyere II, the chief of Denkyira Obuasi said he was ready to work with the government and the military to restore the image and dignity of the town. He appealed for forgiveness and support from the nation.

The military, on its part, said it has accepted the verdict and commended the judiciary for its professionalism and impartiality. It said it has no ill feelings towards the people of Denkyira Obuasi and that it will continue to perform its duties to protect the country and its citizens.

The verdict has brought closure to one of the most horrific and tragic cases in Ghana’s history. It has also shown that no one is above the law and that justice will always prevail.

Source: Modern Ghana 

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