Clash At Electrochem: Deceased Died From Gunshot, Not Stone – Eyewitnesses

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A conflict between residents of Sege in the Greater Accra Region and Electrochem Ghana Limited, a salt company, in connection with the Songhor Lagoon, has resulted in the shooting and killing of one person.

About 25 others also sustained injuries.

The onslaught on the local resident was allegedly led by some land guards hired to protect the Electrochem concession from unauthorised people who have been ordered to vacate the area.

The armed land guard allegedly stormed a village called Toflokpo and started attacking people indiscriminately.

The DCE for the area, who attempted intervening, was also beaten to a pulp by the locals, who insist the Lagoon is their source of livelihood and, thus, cannot vacate the concession.

The chief of Toflokpo, Nene Mayilo Dadebom II, told media houses that their decades-old source of livelihood cannot be denied them at a whim.

Assemblyman for Bone Kope, Mr. Francis in an interview indicated that, he received an insider information that Electrochem officials were distributing machetes to landguards in the presence of some armed police officers to go and attack locals operating the ‘achiakpo’.

According to him, the landguards and the police stormed the site and begin cutting the trampolines being used by the locals. This he said, resulted in some agitations from the residents leading to the police firing gun shots which eventually killed one person.

“I went to report at incident at the police station. I can tell you the police had difficulty in even taking the deceased body away. It took my intervention and that of the DCE to get the residents agree for the corpse to be taken away,” he said.

The Assemblyman however denied the fact that the deceased was pelted with stone, saying that blood was still gashing out from behind the deceased’s head and Doctor’s confirmation of the cause of death is that the deceased may die from possible gun wounds.

Electrochem, while admitting using a task force to evict the locals, denied shooting anyone.

Nene Siada, Operations Manager at Electrochem Ghana, told Accra-based Citi FM: “We were on the field when all of a sudden, we heard noises which were from a lot of crowd from the town. We made sure that we protected our equipment and personnel. The people started throwing stones at us.”

“I heard Nene saying the police were shooting, but before man and God, there was no shooting. We were trying to protect our concession, and we have made announcements that they should move from that place. No one went there to shoot because our security guys don’t even use guns. We never shot a gun, not even a warning shot.”

“We gladly welcome any other person that wants to do salt business with us, and we have been given fifteen years to mine salt at Ada, and this thing went through the traditional authorities and Parliament, so this thing is legal. We have people who are doing illegal mining there. We have done over ninety-five community engagements,and we continue to do engagements. So I don’t understand why someone would say we’ve never engaged the community,” he added.

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