72-year-old Grandmother burned alive in Ghana for being a ‘witch’, Son speaks out
Mr. Stephen Kwame Ofosu Yeboah, a 48-year-old son of the woman who was burnt alive at Tema Community One last week, has discounted claims that the deceased was a witch.
The deceased, who left behind two other children, including Madam Ama Foa, 53, a trader, and 40-year-old Kwesi Ayiah, a dock worker, died from severe burns at the Tema General Hospital 24 hours after being sent there.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr. Yaboah said he was informed by his cousin, Mr. Kofi Saman, with whom the deceased lived in the village, that she had left the village on the dawn of the day of the incident for Tema in her attempt to visit him (Yeboah) at Ashaiman.
Madam Ama Hemmah, now deceased, according to family members, had made her travel arrangements known the previous day when the entire family was about to retire to bed. According to Mr. Yeboah, his cousin said he had tried to convince her to rescind her decision, as her son had relocated from Nungua to Ashiaman and she might not be able to trace him at his new place of abode.
Mr. Yrboah said family members at the village had woken up the following day to find the deceased’s bedroom empty, and after failing to locate her in the village, the said cousin alerted him.
“I then went to Kaneshie and waited at the Ajumako Station in an attempt to meet her and take her home, but I was unsuccessful,” Mr. Yeboah stated. He denied allegations of witchcraft leveled against his mother by her killers. “Our mother was never a witch and had never suffered any mental disorder throughout her entire life, apart from exhibiting signs of forgetfulness and other symptoms of old age,” he stated.
Meanwhile, some residents of Site 7 (Community One) where the incident occurred have appealed to state prosecutors to ensure that the perpetrators of the heinous crime faced the full rigours of the law. They said that would serve as a deterrent to people who were quick to mete out mob justice on crime suspects.
Madam Ama Hemmah, a native of Ajumako Assasan in the Central Region, was allegedly detained and tortured for four hours by six people in an attempt to extract confessions of being a witch from her.
The suspects, Samuel Ghunney, 50, a photographer, and Emelia Opoku, 37, a trader, with the help of Samuel Fletcher Sagoe, 55, an evangelist; Nancy Nana Ama Akrofie, 46, a teacher; Hannah Sagoe and Mary Sagoe, 52, were said to have drenched the deceased in kerosene before setting her ablaze.
The suspects, however, denied the offence when they appeared before the Tema Magistrate Court
In a related development, a resident of Community One has told the Daily Graphic that she had seen Madam Hemmah begging for alms in the neighbourhood on the day of the incident.
According to Madam Jayne Quartey, 76, Madam Hemmah had approached her in front of her house, where she sells bread, and told her (Madam Quartey) that she (Madam Hemmah) had come to town to visit her children but lost her way after falling asleep in a Tema-bound vehicle and that she had later gotten down at the Community One main station.
She said Madam Hemmah, who had in her hand a black leather handbag, had sought her assistance for food, water, as well as an amount of money to enable her to go back to her village. According to Madam Quartey, she had offered only a piece of bread to Madam Hemmah, as there was no money on her to assist the old woman. “If I knew that such a fate would befall her, I would not have allowed her to leave my premises,” Madam Quartey stated.
Source: Daily graphic