The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has revealed that security personnel has the legal mandate to use lethal force when confronting armed protestors if the need arises.
Addressing Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday, IGP James Oppong-Boanuh, indicated that the use of lethal force, where necessary, is to ensure the safety of security officers whose lives may be at risk.
“Honourable Chair, you and I know that in very fluid situations, there are no hard and fast rules when the lives of the Police officers are threatened, that they should go through all these. So, depending on the nature of the situation you are dealing with, then you can go through all these.
“Let me add that if you are dealing with unarmed demonstrators, then you will not go for live amour, but when you see somebody in the crowd holding a weapon which is capable of being used to kill or injure a Police officer, our laws permit us to use lethal force to eliminate that threat to the officers on duty. So, it depends on the situation you are dealing with,” he said.
According to the IGP, the Police Service has a manual that provides the required steps to take when facing unarmed and armed protestors, be it a lawful or unlawful protest.
When confronted with unarmed protestors, he noted that the Police requests calmly through a megaphone. However, should it escalate, the use of spray guns, tear gas and blank amour are the preferred means to resolve matters?
“Yes, we do have a manual on the use of force. Normally, you will speak to the people through a megaphone or you shout if they can hear you and you spray water, you throw tear gas and then you use blank amour and eventually you use live amour,” he explained.
He further added that not all protestors may be carrying weapons. However, this does not prevent the security officers from protecting themselves.
“What people don’t know is ‘A’ may be armed, ‘B’ may not. So, being in the crowd doesn’t necessarily mean you know what is happening but technically, you are responsible for whatever the person is doing. So, we take steps to eliminate that threat to the officers.”
His comments come at a time when the Ejura community in the Ashanti Region, has lost two of its residents with four others injured as a result of a clash between youth protestors and Military officers.
The Ejura youth hit the streets on Tuesday, June 29, to demand justice for the murder of their colleague, Ibrahim Mohammed, a social activist who was attacked in front of his residence.
The social activist was rushed to the hospital but passed away on Monday, June 28, at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
According to the MCE for Ejura Sekyeredumase, Mohammed Bamba, information before him revealed that the protesters attacked the Police and Military team by pelting stones at them.
“What I was told is that the youth were demonstrating. They were moving from one area to another at a point, they were throwing stones at the Police vehicle and the Military personnel. So when they got to some area, the youth rounded up the security men in the middle. So the security men decided to fire a warning shot. That is what I have been told so far,” he said.
However, the MP for the locality, Braimah Mohammed in an interview with JoyNews stated that the information he gathered showed the security agencies rather fired directly at the youth.
He stressed that the youth did not harm or attack anyone while protesting.