A man who was shot and wounded over disputed cocoa lands at Asiam in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern Region, is demanding justice.
More than a year after the incident, the victim’s leg is rotting while the alleged perpetrator is yet to be brought to book.
Bismark Nartey, 44, who is a palm wine tapper and father of eight children became the collateral damage.
He said September 17, 2016, was the worst day of his life as he was shot when he tried to escape the chaos. The bullet-riddled through his feet.
Unfortunately, due to poor treatment, the leg is getting rotten.
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Thousands of acres of cocoa fields in Asiam have been destroyed by some companies engaged in the development of rubber plantations.
“They came to take the land. The community met them but I wasn’t there. While approaching the meeting venue, I heard the gunshots and before I knew it, I had been shot in the leg. I was taken on a motorbike to the Suhum police station. From there, I was given a form to go to the hospital," he recounted.
"I was in the hospital for three days and spent four months in another facility afterwards. But till date, I am not okay,” he lamented in an interview with Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo for the Hotline Documentary 'Plastic Chocolate'.
He struggles to walk. His wife has divorced him and he now struggles to take care of his children. He is unable to properly treat his leg now, using old rugs to tie it up instead of treated bandages.
“I want justice. The man who shot me needs to be dealt with. Now, my wife has left me,” he said.
The police say they are investigating the incident.
Suhum Municipal 2015 best farmer, Seidu Mahama has claimed the traditional leaders do not have the communities at heart, accusing them of unscrupulously selling out lands the cocoa farmers leased legally.
“We have been using money from cocoa and plantain to educate our children. Now that they have been destroyed, where can we get food?”
Over 2000 acres of cocoa fields have been destroyed in the community.
“Unless there is a serious intervention from government, more fields will be destroyed. Once they finish destroying what is here, they will extend it to the other areas. That should not happen,” Kweku Ansah another farmer said.
But the takeover was not smooth.
The residents resisted resulting in the injuring of one person. A community meeting was called at which leaders of the cocoa farmers union met with the rubber developers who allegedly turned up with armed guards.
“When we met as a community, we insisted we will not give the lands to them. They had land guards and they started shooting. One person was shot in the leg,” Mr Mahama explained.
Watch the video of the interview below:
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