Ghana jails man who 'wanted to kill' president

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama took office in July 2012 and was previously vice president (AFP Photo/John Macdougall) (AFP/File)

Accra (AFP) - A court in Ghana sentenced a man to a 10-year prison term Tuesday after he confessed to trying to kill President John Dramani Mahama.

On Sunday 36-year-old Charles Antwi was arrested in possession of a pistol in a church usually attended by Mahama and his family.

The president was absent when the incident occurred, an official statement said.

"I wanted to kill President Mahama to take over his position," Antwi told the court in the capital Accra.

"Trying to kill the president was a way of fighting for the nation. I was to be sworn in as president when president John Evans Atta Mills died," in July 2012, he told the court.

Antwi's explanation struck observers as bizarre, because he is unknown to the public and has no record of activity in national or presidential politics.

His account of locating the church was similarly curious.

"A military personnel at the (presidential) Osu Castle directed me to the president's church at Ringway," he also told the court session, attended by an AFP journalist.

He did not disclose the identity of the military official.

Antwi told the court that the gun was given to him by a Burkinabe citizen he also did not name.

The man was arrested after his "fidgety and suspicious behaviour was noticed" during the Ringway branch of Assemblies of God church's morning service, a government spokesman, Edward Omane Boamah, had said in the official statement.

The state of Antwi's mental health is unknown.

The judge sentenced Antwi to the maximum term allowed by the law for illegal possession of weapons.