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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Fury over women's killings in Ghana

By Kwaku Sakyi-Addo

Women's activists are calling for the dismissal of Ghana's interior minister and the inspector-general of police, after the murder of the 25th woman in Accra in less than two years.

The police have not managed to solve any of the killings in the Ghanaian capital.


It's the lives of ordinary people that are being lost so the big men don't care

Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, The Ark Foundation

The latest murder, which was the second within a week, has led to a mixture of fury and fear.

Until recently Accra was a particularly safe city of an estimated two million people.

Women's organisations have threatened a one-day national strike throughout the country to protest at the police's failure to solve the murders.

"Men are welcome, but they won't be crucial," said Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, executive director of The Ark Foundation an organisation aimed at women's empowerment.

Serial killer

The victim of Sunday's murder is yet to be identified, though she is believed to be in her mid-twenties.

A blood-stained skirt, torn underwear and a condom lay close by where her body was found at Asylum Down, a neighbourhood close to the centre of the city.

Just a week earlier, a middle-aged woman was found dead in another part of the city, in the same kind of condition.

Until recently all the killings had taken place at Mataheko, a lower middle-class residential area in the south-western part of the city.

There are suspicions that the killings may be the work of a serial killer or killers, but the police have made no headway in finding the culprits.

National crisis

The Ghana branch of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (Fida) has written to President Jerry Rawlings as well as to the legislature asking them to the treat the situation as "a national crisis".


I made the report at 0630, the police officer in charge eventually saw me almost four hours later

Sylvia Legge, Witness

"We wish to state without hesitation that we're deeply aggrieved, highly disappointed and extremely agitated by this unnecessary and unjustified shedding of innocent blood," said Elizabeth Owiredu-Gyampoh, President of Fida.

Many women are citing discrimination and insensitivity on the part of the government and the police, saying the situation would have been treated with a lot more seriousness if the victims had been men.

"But as it is, it's the lives of ordinary people that are being lost so the big men don't care," said Angela Dwamena-Aboagye.

Police

The police are also being accused of lacking professionalism.

Sylvia Legge, who made the initial report of the most recent killing at a nearby police station, says she was not treated seriously by the police.

"I made the report at 0630, but the police officer in charge eventually saw me after 1000, almost four hours later," she told a local radio station.

The police in turn point to a lack of facilities, as well as lack of motivation.

Equipment for testing blood samples pre-dates World War II, according to police criminal investigations department sources.

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