An Accra High Court hearing the case of 14 accused persons who allegedly lynched Major Maxwell Mahama at Denkyira Obuase has heard that the slain soldier exchanged gunshots with those who gruesomely murdered him.
A prosecution witness in the trial told the court that the late soldier exchanged gunshots with one Yaw Amankwah until they were both out of bullets and the soldier decided to run away from his assailants.
The witness, Kwame Adjei, told the court that on May 29, 2017, he was by the roadside side in Denkyira Obuase (now New Obuase) selling fuel when two motorbikes passed by him.
He said one of the motorbikes was being ridden by one Yaw Amankwah while William Baah and Akwesi Baah were on the other one.
He said moments later he heard shouts of “thief thief thief” so he took his motorbike and headed towards the direction where the shouts were coming from.
Led in his evidence-in-chief by Frances Hullen Ansah, a principal state attorney, the witness told the court that while on his way, he met the late Major Mahama at the Obuase Cemetery “and pleaded with me to take him away because some people wanted to kill him.”
“Whiles he was talking and pleading with me to carry him away, I heard a gunshot from behind and when I turned to see who fired the shot, I saw Yaw Amankwah holding the gun. I saw Major Mahama and Yaw Amankwah exchanging gunshots but because there was distance between them none of them sustained any injuries,” the court heard.
Mr. Adjei told the court that “at that point I ran into the bush for safety. They fired at each other for a while and stopped. After they stopped, I saw Major Mahama trying to run away and I also went for my motorbike and followed him and met him at Denkyira Obuasi junction,” he said.
He told the court that when he met the late soldier, Major Mahama was still pleading with him to carry him away but because he was holding a gun he also feared for his life.
“I told him that since he was said to be a thief he should give his weapon to me before I allow him to sit on my motorbike. When I asked for the gun he declined to hand it over so I left him there and he continued running while I also returned to my place to sell, the witness said.
He told the court that he was at his sales point when he saw the Diaso Police pass by with their vehicle and he also decided to follow them to see what was happening.
He said he got to Denkyira Obuasi and saw that Major Mahama had already been lynched.
The witness told the court that about 4 pm the same day, they later heard that the person who was murdered was not a thief but a military officer.
“When we heard that he was a soldier and not a thief, people started running away. I got my wife and children and we went to sleep on my farm. The following day I gave my wife money to take the children to her mother’s village and I also decided to leave the town,” Mr. Adjei narrated.
Asked where he went to, he told the court that he went to a cottage. “After some time, there was an announcement asking everyone to return to the town. I was afraid to return to the town so I reported myself to the Diaso Police even though I was not part of those who killed him (Major Mahama).”
He said the police took his statement and he was detained for three days and was later brought to Accra.
Meanwhile, the witness has identified two of the suspects in the trial as those he saw on a motorbike on the fateful day.
He said he was at his sales point when the accused persons- William Baah, the assemblyman and Akwesi Baah passed by.
He could, however, not tell the court whether the two played any role in the gruesome murder of the late soldier.
Augustines Obour, lawyer for Kwame Tufuor and Joseph Appiah Kubi, in his cross-examination of the witness put it to him that he did not know how Major Mahama died and he answered in the affirmative.
“You were not there when he died,” the lawyer asked and the witness said yes.
The lawyer challenged the witness’ evidence that he met the late soldier twice since that was not captured in his caution statement to the police and that his evidence was calculated to avoid being charged and prosecuted.
But the witness said that was not the case.
Other defence lawyers are expected to cross-examine the witness on July 24.