The Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General E. Aggrey-Quarshie, has said that many Ghanaians have hailed the Military for beating up the residents of Ashaiman especially for arresting the alleged criminals in the area.
According to him, a lot of Ghanaians have called him, and the institution to applaud them including the residents of Ashiaman, and also asked them to embark on more operations.
The Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces said this when he was expressing some concerns on how the media blasted them for beating the residents of Ashiaman at the 2023 National PR and Communication, AGM Summit held at Kwahu-Nkwatia in the Kwahu-Abetifi District of the Eastern Region.
Addressing a security issue on the theme; ‘’Staying Credible Through Rough Patches’’ at the forum when a question was thrown to him, he said “It’s very unfortunate that a small group of people (referring to the media and panelists) who are sitting behind microphones and have access to pen and papers and saying all sorts of things against the Military as if the whole country is upside down”.
According to him” I am not justifying our actions, but the number of calls that the Institution and I have received, thanking us for the actions in Ashiaman is amazing… You see you are happy about it, it’s funny but People are asking us, oh General so when will you do that again?” Yes because if you leave within that enclave and at a certain time of the day, you couldn’t go to certain areas, and these things happen you appreciate “.
He explained that “the actions of the troops, not even all of them, some of the troops, the funny thing is that the pictures that went out were taken by them and shared on social media. And it’s not the media persons who went to take them and published them. We have gone to do the wrong thing and we (Soldiers) put it out there and the media are using it against us”.
He explained that there was nothing the military could have done at that moment and the only solution was to restore order, adding that “the Military not coming to ask you why didn’t respect the Police. If you wanted to respect the Police, you will do so. When You refuse to respect the police that’s when the Military comes in”.
He added that the Police sometimes find it difficult to control troubled makers but when the Military is called in, everyone will order them, adding that “so the best thing is that, don’t do things that will bring the Military there rather than obeying the law and order of the land”.
He continued “I must tell you that if not for the soldiers who posted those pictures on social media and it went viral, people won’t have known what happen there. But I just want you to be aware that there are a lot of people, who are happy that we enter those areas in Ashiaman. But maybe if you live around that area you will understand”.
He justified that even though the soldiers cannot accept the blame but feel sorry for taking such an exercise, adding that it is regrettable that innocent civilians were caught up in the operation and “suffered some distress”.
On Tuesday, March 7, just a day after Ghana’s Independence Day celebration, armed soldiers believed to have come from Michel and Burma Camps stormed Taifa on March 7, 2023, and assaulted the residents.
The brutalities followed the death of a young soldier Imoro Sheriff who was attacked and killed by some assailants on Saturday, March 4 while he was returning from a female friend’s house. The police have however arrested some six suspects who are currently on remand and assisting with investigations.
During the swoop at Ashaiman, the soldiers arrested a total of 184 residents and conveyed them to Burma Camp. They were released days later; 150 first before the remaining 134.
The Ghana Armed Forces thereafter justified that the bloody operation was sanctioned by the Military High Command.
Even though both local and international human rights organizations including Amnesty International, and CHRAJ, individuals have condemned the conduct of the soldiers, describing it as a flagrant violation of the human rights of innocent people.
-BY Daniel Bampoe