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Two soldiers sentenced to 30 yrs for Issa Mobila’s murder

Corporal Yaw Appiah

Corporal Yaw Appiah

An Accra Fast Track High Court has convicted two soldiers for their roles in the death of former Northern Regional CPP Chairman Alhaji Issa Mobila, and sentenced to a combined jail term of 30 years. The two soldiers, Corporal Yaw Appiah and Private Seth Goka, were both found guilty of manslaughter by a seven-member jury. Private Goka, who is still on the run, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Corporal Appiah received a jail term of 10 years, his lawyer Thadius Sore confirmed to Joy News. “The jurors took the view that based on the facts and evidence that were adduced before the court, they found the first and the third accused persons guilty, rather of manslaughter and not murder.” Recap pathologist from the Okomfo Anokye Hospital in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region noted that the late Alhaji Issa Mohammed, also known as Issa Mobila, the former Northern Regional Chairman of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), died as a result of a break down of his lungs. Dr. Kofi Adoako Boateng, who is also a lecturer at the Medical School of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) further indicated that the damaged lungs of the deceased resulted from lacerations and abrasions he suffered, that caused his ribs to fracture and thereby compromise his respiration. The pathologist was giving evidence before an Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) yesterday, as it looks in the case in which three soldiers are standing trial over the death of Issa Mobila, who was also the then Chairman of the Tamale/Bolgatanga branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU). Responding to questions posed by Mrs. Merley Wood, Chief State Attorney, Dr. Adomako Boateng in his evidence-in-chief pointed out that on December 14, 2004, he was conveyed by an Air-Force plane to Tamale, to perform an autopsy at the Tamale Central Government Hospital on “someone who had died through suspicious circumstance”. Cpl. Appiah Yaw, Private Modzaka Eric and Private Seth Gokah are facing two counts of conspiracy and murder of Issa Mobila. Cpl. Appiah Yaw and Private Modzaka Eric pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against them. However, Private Seth Gokah had been declared “Absent Without Official Leave” (AWOL) by the 1st Infantry Battalion (1BN) at Michel Camp, where the accused persons were held at a military installation, after being transferred from the Tamale High Court, where they were previously standing trial. Cpl Appiah Yaw and Private Modzaka Eric are currently in prison custody. The pathologist told the court, presided over by Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh that on getting to the mortuary, he conducted a routine check on the body of the deceased, in the presence of several police personnel, as well as family members of the deceased. According to witness, he noticed multiple abrasions and lacerations all over “a male body with average height”, including the chest, arms legs, thighs, the side of the body, fractured ribs, bronchial area among others. Dr. Adomako Boateng further observed that the deceased died as a result of the collapsed of the lungs, resulting from bleeding into the chest of the deceased, following the abrasions and lacerations he suffered. He noted that even though there was no penetrating wound, the ribs of the deceased around the chest were fractured, which “may be caused as a result of standing on the chest”. In his response, during cross-examination conducted by Mr. Thaddeus Sory, Counsel for the defense, Dr. Adomako Boateng emphasized that he never knew who caused the lacerations and abrasions on the deceased. Witness also asserted that relations of the deceased where present when he conducted the examination, adding that they could not stand the exercise, so they had to walk away, whiles he went ahead with the autopsy. Hearing continues on November 1, this year. The facts of the case are that the accused persons were on duty at the Kamina Barracks at Tamale, in the Northern Region, the deceased, who was in their custody died. Issa Mobila had surrendered himself to the police in Tamale, when he got information from his wife that the police were looking for him. The police had on December 9th, 2004, gone to his house to arrest him for suspecting that he had supplied the youth with guns and ammunitions the previous day, to cause mayhem in the heat of political campaigning in the region. The deceased was then arrested and detained in respect of a gun-firing incidence in the late hours of December 8th, 2004, at Werizehi, a suburb of Tamale. The police further impounded a BMW car with registration number GR 2772 Q, belonging to the deceased, and conducted a search on him and his residence, but found nothing incriminating. The court was told that subsequently, the police had information that the youth were going to besiege the police station for the possible release of Issa Mobila, as a result of which, during a meeting of the Regional Security Council, a decision was taken to transfer the then Convention People’s Party (CPP) Regional Chairman to the Military at Kamina Barracks for safekeeping. The prosecution alleged before the court that the police handed over the deceased at about 3:00 p.m. fit and sound to the Military at Kamina Barracks. However, Issa Mobilla was taken to the Medical Reception Station (MRS) of the barracks at about 8:00 p.m., with evidence of violent attacks all over his body. He was later pronounced dead.

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