Dr. Brigadier Jaswant Mante Wadhwani (Rtd), the Pathologist who performed the autopsy on the body of the Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, Former Overlord of Dagbon, and 28 others on Wednesday said the Ya-Na might have died of shock and haemorrhage as a result of decapitation.
He said the charred body of the Ya-Na Yakubu and 15 other bodies out of the 29 dead bodies deposited at the Yendi Government Hospital, were properly identified and labelled with the help of families and Dr. Bernard Sekyi, the Resident Doctor of the Yendi Government Hospital.
Dr. Brigadier Wadwani was testifying at the ongoing trial of the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu at the Fast Track High Court in Accra.
Dr. Brigadier Wadwani, who was led in evidence by Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu, a Principal State Attorney, said on March 29, 2002 he left for Tamale on his way to Yendi to go and perform an autopsy on dead bodies that had been deposited at the Yendi Government Hospital as a result of the conflict in the area.
He said when he arrived in Tamale he visited the Kamina Barracks where he called on the Commanding Officer of the 6th Battalion of Infantry.
He said he departed from Tamale with two mortuary assistants and arrived in Yendi around 1900 hours. He said Dr. Sekyi briefed him on the corona’s report.
Dr. Brigadier Wadwani said on March 30, 2002 they started performing the autopsy on the 29 dead bodies deposited at the Yendi Hospital.
He said out of the 29 dead bodies, which had been deposited, 15 bodies and that of the Ya-Na had already been labelled with the help of the Ya-Na’s family and Dr. Sekyi.
He said after the autopsy at the Yendi Hospital he issued two reports, which explained the circumstances that might have led to the Ya-Na’s death.
He said he captioned the report especially the one on the Ya-Na: “Report on a working visit to the Yendi Government Hospital” and explained in details the headless body of an adult male whom he described as the Ya-Na with various degrees of burns with an open skull and jaw and a missing upper and lower limbs.
He said his findings led him to conclude that the Ya-Na might have died of shock and haemorrhage as result of the severance of the head from the body either by a sharp implement such as a butchers knife, cutlass or an axe.
Dr. Brigadier Wadwani also told the Court that in May 7, 2003 a second autopsy report, which he issued in connection with the assassination of Ya-Na was used in the trial of Idrissu Gyamfo and Yidana Sugri.
He said the original copy of that report which was labelled as an exhibit was kept with the Court of trial.
He said after his assignment at the Yendi Hospital he made his statement to the Police on the findings of the autopsy.
Dr. Brigadier Wadwani refuted claims from the Defence that he (Dr. Wadwani) did not present the complete autopsy report on the assassination of the Ya-Na to the Wuako Commission and had to take a whole year to prepare another report in May 7, 2003.
He said even though he agreed with the Defence argument that the first report was silent on the causation of the death of the Ya-Na he gave that impression to the Wuako Commission when he appeared before it.
Dr. Brigadier Wadwani also denied claims that he (Dr. Wadwani) had changed certain portions of the second autopsy report, which read that the bodies that were deposited at the Yendi Hospital, were yet to be positively identified.
Fifteen persons are on trial for their alleged involvement in the assassination of Ya-Na Andani and 30 others in March 2002.
They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to murder and murder.
The accused persons are; Mohammed Habib Tijani, former Yendi DCE, Iddrisu Iddi, 76, Alhaji Baba Iddrisu Abdulai, 54, Kwame Alhassan, 53, and Mohammadu Abdulai, 57.
The others are; Saibu Mohammed, 34, Alhassan Mohammed Briamah, 40, Alhassan Ibrahim, Mohammed Mustapha and Sani Moro.
The rest are; Baaba Ibrahim, Yakubu Usifu, Ahmed Abukari, Abdul Razak Usifu and Alhassan Braimah.
Zakaria Forest, the man alleged to have cut-off the head and hands of the Ya- Na, is at large.
The prosecution’s case is that sometime in March 2002, the Ya-Na and some of his elders were killed following a clash between the two royal gates in Dagbon, the Abudus and Andanis.
After the clash, Idrissu Gyamfo and Yidana Sugri were arrested and prosecuted for the alleged murder but they were acquitted and discharged.
The government in a fresh attempt to find the murderers conducted a dawn swoop at Yendi during which 41 persons were rounded up.
After screening them in Bimbilla, 33 were granted self-recognisance bail, while the rest were brought to Accra and subsequently others were arrested and were arraigned.
The case has been adjourned to October 14, 2010.