Journal of Forensic Pathology

ISSN - 2684-1312


Mass Murder in Ghana: Offenders, Victims and Incident Characteristics

Mensah Adinkrah

Mass murder refers to a homicide episode in which four or more persons are killed concurrently, in one or two locations, within a twenty-four-hour period. As a phenomenon, mass murder has not been adequately studied in non-Western societies, partly because of the limited number of incidents occurring there. Consequently, very little is known about the extent and characteristics of mass murders that occur in these societies. This article helps fill this void in the literature by focusing on mass murder offenses that occurred in Ghana, West Africa. Diligent and systematic manual and computer searches of Ghanaian print and electronic media yielded six mass murders during 1990-2016. A content analysis was conducted of all available reports surrounding these cases to identify the sociodemographic characteristics of offenders, victims, offense characteristics (weapon, spatial, temporal aspects) and possible motives for the crime. The findings included the following: mass murder was a rare crime in Ghana; perpetrators were typically male and employed machetes, firearms, poisons and acid to kill their victims; offenders and victims archetypally shared a primary relationship as family members.