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The funeral at the late Abontendomhene of Sefwi-Wiawso turned bloody last Friday when two persons were shot dead and another seriously wounded in a stampede at the royal event.

Eyewitnesses said during the firing of musketry as part of the funeral, some of the youth of the area attempted to force their way into the palace with one of the claimants to the Sefwi-Wiawso Paramount stool, resulting the commotion. The dead were identified as Lydia Osei, a cashier of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Joseph Kofi Nkrumah, popularly known as Somiso, who was one of the youth forcing their way into the palace.

The wounded, who had been flown to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, was named as Clara Owusu, a secretary at the IRS. The bodies of the deceased have been deposited at the Sefwi-Wiawso Government Hospital.

The bloody incident occurred about 3pm on Friday during the funeral of the late Nana Yaw Korankye, the Abontendomhene, when the procession of Nana Kwesi Gyebi II, the Suihene, fired live bullets, which hit the two members of staff of the IRS, causing the death of Lydia on the spot, while Clara was wounded and was rushed to Kumasi.
Nkrumah also died from bullet wounds when he joined the youth carrying John Chika to the palace, apparently to proclaim him the paramount chief, when they encountered the police on guard duties. In the struggle with the police, the gun of one of the policemen allegedly went off and hit Nkrumah.

The youth were also said to have vandalized the offices of Liberty FM, a local radio station owned by the Paramount Chief of the area, Nana Nkuah Okumdom II. As a result of the dispute over the Wiawso paramountcy, the Judicial Committee of the Western Regional House of Chiefs was said to have, on February 24, 2006, restrained Chika from holding himself as a chief and entering the palace.

Confirming the incident to the Daily Graphic, the Chairman of the District Security Committee, Mr Sephen Wilks Kofi Mensah, said last Thursday the Queen of Sefwi Wiawso, Adua Panyin II, prompted him that there was an attempt to move Chika into the palace on the day of the procession. “I then prompted the police to ensure that there was enough security to contain any trouble by the other faction contesting the stool,” he said. Mr Mensah said while his outfit and the police were moving to contain the situation, the youth took advantage to carry Chika in an attempt to install him at the palace.

He corroborated the report that during the struggle by the youth to enter the palace, a police rifle allegedly went off, killing Nkrumah in the process. In his bid to maintain peace in the area, he said he had been to various radio stations in the area to appeal to the people to stay calm. When contacted, the Western Regional Police Commander, Alhaji Mahama Hamidu, confirmed the two incidents and deplored the unfortunate incidents that led to the loss of lives.
He told the Daily Graphic that the chiefs came for a permit to organise the funeral of Nana Yaw Korankye. He said the guns the chief were supposed to fire were to contain musketry and not live ammunition.

On the struggle that led to Nkrumah’s death, the commander said the youth should understand that the palace was under the guard of the police to protect it and its contents. While describing the shootings as unfortunate, he said, “I can assure the aggrieved families and the people of Sefwi-Wiawso that the police have a system of checking if the gunshot was from the police rifle. We will also launch full investigations to unearth what led to the two said incidents.”
Members of the District Security Council, led by its Chairman, have visited the families of the deceased to console them.

Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana

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