The survivor of the shooting incident which led to the death of 25-year-old Divine Akuinor on Saturday, 5 January 2019, has debunked claims by the police that he and the now-deceased Credit Officer, snatched a lady’s handbag and stole the alleged victim’s iPhone, for which reason the police said they shot at them.The suspect, who is receiving treatment at the police hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds from the police, told Accra-based Citi FM on Friday, 11 January 2019 that: “I went for a programme, I hanged out at Sakumono, Titanic Beach. On my return home, I met a JHS friend of mine, a schoolmate of mine, so, I stopped and asked him where he [was] going, so, I said: ‘Let me drop him at his house’."
“I was riding a motorbike by then, so, when we got to his area, he asked me to alight him over there, so, I parked the motor. Immediately I parked the motor, a car approached us. We didn’t know whether it was a police car or a robber because their headlight was off and I couldn’t see the number plate."
“We heard a lady’s voice from the car and after the voice, the gunshot began to come; they started shooting at us. Since I didn’t know who it was, I decided to move the motor”, he said.
However, the victim, whose bag was allegedly snatched, told the same radio station that Divine and the surviving suspect first fired gunshots at the police.
She said: “When they saw the police, they started to fire, so, the police also fired in return, and one fell from the back, the one who took the phone fell from the back with my phone [in] his pocket."
“They were exchanging fire with the police.”
Meanwhile, the Accra Regional Police Command has justified the killing of the deceased.
On Thursday, 10 January 2019, the Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police Command, Efia Tenge, said: “From the angle of the Police, a lady was attacked and her handbag, together with her iPhone was snatched from her by two guys, and that was in the late hours of Friday, 4th January 2019. She sought help from the Police snap checkpoint."
“There, she was handed over to a patrol team to assist her. Search efforts to arrest these suspects began until they came across these two young men on their robbery escapades, and in an attempt to demobilize them, the rider fell and escaped. The Police states that the deceased was not shot in any mistaken identity as it is being alleged or claimed by the family. Rather, he died through gunshot wounds he sustained from the Police after robbing the lady.”
The incident happened between 1 a.m. and 1.30 a.m. at Malik-Adjorman, a suburb of Teshie in Accra.
According to an eyewitness, identified only as Gabby, the deceased was shot together with a mechanic, Dennis Kojo, by a police patrol team, who visited the area following the alleged snatching of the lady’s handbag.
Gabby, who was at the scene, stated: “What happened is that after searching me, they [police] brought a lady out to ask her if I'm the one who snatched the phone, and she said no. So, after searching me, they heard a motorbike coming around the corner, so, they quickly drove there and I heard gunshots. They were two, so, I rushed there to see who they shot, but they [police] didn't allow me and many people were coming out to see who they shot, but they took him and put him in the van and drove off."
Narrating the incident to ClassFMonline.com, a brother of the deceased, Gameli Akuinor, said: “The whole of Saturday, we tried calling him [Divine] but he wasn't picking up. My sister sent a WhatsApp message around 6 p.m. asking if he was with me because I don't live with them, but I said no. My mum called around 8 p.m. to find out again but I said no he wasn't. The following day, I called around 5 a.m. and they said he had not returned. I went there and when I got there, I went to his room, his fan was on, the TV was on, which meant he was only taking a stroll."
“We went to GREDA Estates Police station and met one Christine Manu, who was jovial about the whole thing that he is an adult and he was going to get back home, but we were skeptical because it was unlike him, so, we lodged a complaint and went to the Nungua police station, where I spoke to one gentleman and learnt that there was an incident, so, he called one Mr Arhinful, who sent the pictures of my dead brother. When I saw it, I just shook my head.
“Apparently, a lady had lodged a complaint with the police about her missing handbag which was snatched from her by unknown persons. The police patrol team came around the area and shot Divine and Kojo after carrying out a search."
“Divine got shot twice and died, according to an eye witness.”
Divine was a credit officer with Easy Microfinance.
His remains have since been deposited at the Police Hospital Morgue.