Today in History: January 2, 1964 Salifu Dagarti Died As A Result of Receiving Bullets For Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah

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Dr, Kwame Nkrumah left and Salifu Dagarti right

Dagarti, a Ghanaian police officer and presidential bodyguard on January 2,1964 shielded 
Kwame Nkrumah with his body on the 5th attempt to assassinate Nkrumah since he came to power. Salifu Dagarti died as a result of receiving bullets

The date was Thursday January 2,19c, the time was about 1:15pm and the setting was the courtyard of the Seat of Government, the Flagstaff House. In the company of two security guards and his aide de camp, Salifu Dagarti, President Nkrumah was about moving from the Flagstaff House to the Christianborg (Osu) Castle for lunch.

Police Constable Seth Nicholas Kwame Ametewee who was on guard duty at the Flagstaff House shot at President Nkrumah four (4) times when the president was moving towards the car.
In the melee, the president’s official driver vanished from the scene. The presidential security guard took cover behind the President’s car. President Nkrumah and Superintendent Salifu Dagarti also took cover.

Seth Ametewee fired at President Nkrumah again but Superintendent Salifu Dagarti ran and shielded Nkrumah with his body. As a result Salifu Dagarti was shot in the head.
After killing his colleague Police officer instantly, Constable Seth Ametewee tried firing his 5th round at President Nkrumah but miraculously the bullet ejected.

At this point, President Nkrumah ran for his dear life and shouted for help but the armed police officers and senior government officials at the scene made no move. One Official was reported to have remarked,

“They’ve bungled it again!”

Running and shouting for help, President Nkrumah headed for the kitchen of the Flagstaff House but Constable Ametewee followed and caught up with the President, trying to club him down in the Kitchen, using the butt of the rifle he shot. Unfortunately for Ametewee, the rifle also miraculously slipped from his hands.

A fight then ensued between President Nkrumah and Constable Ametewee. Ametewee had bitten the President’s cheek and President Nkrumah also kicked Ametewee in the groan leading to Ametewee becoming unconscious momentarily.

It was only at this stage that other police officers intervened, knocking out Constable Ametewee and he laid on the floor of the Flagstaff House kitchen. He was then placed under arrest.

Constable Seth Nicholas Kwame Ametewee, was ordered to trial for murder, starting March 23,1964

About 1:45pm on that Day, the Flagstaff House was cordoned off with troops and at about 4pm, the incident was announced on Radio Ghana.
No further details were given and for about 12 hours, there was no public comment again about the incident apart from Rodionov, the Russian Ambassador to Ghana telling his diplomatic colleagues that President Nkrumah defeated his assailant.

Superintendent Salifu Dagarti was recognized posthumously as a National Hero for shielding the President from bullets and dying as a result. He was given a full military honoured state burial. The Government also pledged to cater for Dagarti’s dependents.

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