U.S. Peace Corps volunteers questioned in Ghana over death

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jul 16, 2012 5:13 PM
U.S. Peace Corps volunteers questioned in Ghana over death

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Police in Ghana questioned two U.S. nationals working as volunteers for the Peace Corps aid program in connection with the killing of a local man who tried to rob them on Saturday, officials said on Monday.

Despite initial reports from Ghana that the pair was arrested, a State Department official said Ghanaian police did not detain the corps members.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and are providing consular assistance," State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell told a news briefing, adding that the incident was under investigation by Ghanaian officials.

A police officer in the northern town of Wa said the incident happened over the weekend when the volunteers were attacked by two robbers.

One Peace Corps volunteer fought back with a knife, fatally wounding one of the assailants, said the officer, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media.

Maureen Knightly, the director of communications for the Peace Corps, said both volunteers had been released and picked up by the organization's staff.

"They voluntarily reported the incident to the local authorities later that morning, were interviewed by local police and released later that day," Knightly said.

The U.S. embassy in the capital Accra confirmed that police were investigating an incident.

"They were involved in a safety and security situation in the early hours of Saturday and the police are investigating," embassy spokeswoman Sara Stryker said.

Nearly 5,000 Peace Corps volunteers have worked in Ghana since U.S. President John Kennedy established the program in 1961 as a service organization dedicated to working in the developing world.

(Reporting by Lauren French and Kwasi Kpodo in Accra; Editing by Mark John and Vicki Allen)