55 years ago today, the ‘Operation Guitar Boy’ coup plotters were killed by firing squadf

Exactly 55 years ago today on May 9, 1967, two military officers: Lt. Samuel Arthur and Lt. Moses Yeboah, were executed by firing squad at the Teshie Range after having been sentenced to death on May 5, 1967.

The officers were sentenced for their participation in a coup, which earned them the name Operation Guitar Boy.

On April 17, 1967, Major General Emmanuel Kotoka, who was a member of the ruling National Liberation Council (NLC), which came to power in Ghana in a military coup d’état on February 24, 1966, was killed in an abortive coup attempt involving the junior officers.

The rebellion led by Lt. Samuel Arthur, Lt. Moses Yeboah and Second Lt. Osei-Poku in Accra on April 17, 1967, resulted in the deaths of two soldiers.

One of the two was Lt. General Emmanuel Kotoka, a member of the ruling National Liberation Council, who was killed by Lt. Moses Yeboah.

Code name “Operation Guitar Boy” saw Lt. Samuel Arthur confess to being the leader of a 122-man reconnaissance unit that attacked key points in Accra before dawn. Lt. Yeboah was his second-in-command at the time.

Lt. Samuel Arthur was found guilty of conspiracy against the state, attacking Accra, and killing a captain who refused to give him the keys to an armory.

In the case of Lt. Moses Yeboah, he was found guilty of conspiracy against the state, attacking Accra, and for killing Lt. Gen. Kotoka.

Both men were found guilty on all counts and sentenced to death by firing squad.

The third officer, 22-year-old Second Lt. Ebenezer Osei-Poku, was found guilty of conspiracy and subversion.

He was found not guilty of attempting to kill Lt. Gen. Joseph Ankrah, the chairman of the National Liberation Council.

He was then jailed for 30 years with their sentences being read out by the president of the tribunal, Air Marshal Michael Otu.

Lt. Osei-Poku was later released by the military government of General Ignatius Acheampong and later granted an unconditional and absolute pardon under the government of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) in 1979.

Lt. Osei-Poku later testified before a National Reconciliation Commission hearing in 2003. He claimed that Lt. Samuel Arthur had “deceived” Lt. Moses Yeboah by informing him that the operation was an anti-smuggling exercise, and that Yeboah did not realise that he had been part of an attempt to oust the National Liberation Council (NLC).

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