Peace Corps member in Ghana may get killing probe

(CBS/AP) ACCRA, Ghana - Ghana's attorney general is examining whether to open a formal investigation after a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer stabbed an alleged robber who subsequently died, police in the West African country said Tuesday.

American national Andrew Kistler appears to have used a knife in self-defense and stabbed the attacker in the chest late Friday in the northern town of Wa, regional police commander Kofi Adei-Akyeampong said.

During the attack, Kistler, who was accompanied by a second Peace Corps volunteer, was injured with a machete and police found him with a bandaged hand and a bloody shirt at his house early Saturday. "One of the assailants tried to slash him with a machete," said deputy regional commander Osei Ampofo-Duku.

One of the two attackers, identified by police as Eliasu Najat, 22, was found dead Saturday morning.

The attack allegedly occurred around 2:30 a.m. local time, according to the Ghana News Agency. Duku told the News Agency the deceased and an accomplice had stopped the male and female Peace Corps volunteers and demanded all their valuables before the incident occurred.

The case has been sent to the attorney general, who will decide whether it warrants prosecution, Adei-Akyeampong said. "It is possible they committed a crime ... but everyone knows they were trying to defend themselves and this was the outcome of their self-defense. There is no cause for alarm," Adei-Akyeampong told The Associated Press.

The Peace Corps said Monday that the two volunteers involved reported the incident, but Ampofo-Duku said Tuesday "the police got to them first," saying officers traced drops of blood from the crime scene to a nearby house where they encountered Kistler.

However, U.S. embassy spokeswoman Sara Stryker on Tuesday reiterated that "when the crime occurred, they reported the incident to the local authorities."

Stryker added the embassy was "closely monitoring" the investigation and offering consular services to the Americans, who are still in Ghana but no longer at their posts. She insisted that it's not the volunteers but "the crime that's being investigated," she said. "They were the crime victims."

Violence against Peace Corps volunteers in West Africa is infrequent but not unheard of, although official statistics on the matter are scarce. Anecdotal evidence of hundreds of sexual assaults throughout the dozens of countries that the Peace Corps serves that were either under-reported or unreported, as well as the murder of a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin in 2009, led to the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, signed into law in 2011, which was designed to protect Peace Corps whistleblowers and improve the treatment of victims of violence and sexual assault. Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old from Atlanta, was murdered while at her post in Benin, an act which her parents blamed at least in part on the Peace Corps itself.

The agency's safety record got renewed attention in recent years as more victims of violence and their families came forward.

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