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Today in 1948, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey were Killed in the Christianborg Crossroads Shooting

The three, who would later come to be known as the “three ex-servicemen” were part of several ex-servicemen who were marching in a peaceful protest from Accra to the Christianborg Castle to present a petition to the governor, Sir Gerald Hallen Creasy, over their unpaid war benefits.

On February 28, 1948, Sergent Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey were killed by colonial policemen.

The three, who would later come to be known as the “three ex-servicemen” were part of several ex-servicemen who were marching in a peaceful protest from Accra to the Christianborg Castle to present a petition to the governor, Sir Gerald Hallen Creasy, over their unpaid war benefits.

The former soldiers, who had served with the allied forces in the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force during World War II, returned home impoverished, yet they did not receive their gratuity.

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Before reaching the castle the veterans were ordered to disperse by the colonial police chief Colin Imray. When they refused, Imray opened fire on the unarmed men instantly killing Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey Lamptey with some of the protestors wounded.

Historical accounts by the Ghana Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) indicate that this incident sparked outrage in the capital, Accra, and other towns and cities such as Koforidua, Akuse, Nsawam and Kumasi. This led to an attack on European and Asian businesses and property leading to the looting and burning of their shops.

These widespread protests spanned over five days. Roger Gockings, the author of The History of Ghana recounts that the government allowed the rioting in Accra to continue for a time, since the loss of property seemed preferable to the loss of life that suppressing the riots would have required.

However, by the 1st of March, the colonial governor had announced a state of emergency and enacted a new Riot Act. Subsequently, on the 12th of March, the governor mandated the detention of “The Big Six,” the leading member of the UGCC, among them Kwame Nkrumah, accusing them of instigating the disturbances. They were subsequently imprisoned in remote parts of the northern regions.

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It is interesting to note that the suspicion and arrest of the Big Six was largely a result of a cable message they had sent to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London regarding the protests.

…unless Colonial Government is changed and a new Government of the people and their Chiefs installed at the centre immediately, the conduct of masses now completely out of control with strikes threatened in Police quarters, and rank and file Police indifferent to orders of Officers, will continue and result in worse violent and irresponsible acts by uncontrolled people,” the UGCC stated.

They had also stated the readiness of their   (UGCC)  Working Committee to assume control as an interim government of the Gold Coast. Their request, they indicated, was  made in the “ name of oppressed, inarticulate, misruled and misgoverned people and their Chiefs that Special Commissioner be sent out immediately to hand over Government to interim Government of Chief and People and to witness immediate calling of Constituent Assembly”

In 2023, the Government of Ghana celebrated the 74th anniversary of the event with a wreath-laying and flag-raising ceremony at Nationalism Park. The event was attended by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, Ministers of State, Service Commanders, and other dignitaries. The ceremony honored the fallen heroes and their contribution to Ghana’s independence struggle. It included a contingent from the Ghana Army, Navy, Air Force, Police Service, and the Veterans Administration of Ghana, symbolizing national unity and respect for those who fought for the country’s freedom​.

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