Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has stated that the Military High Command has accepted responsibility for sanctioning the recent swoop conducted by some soldiers in Ashaiman.
The command, according to him, indicated that the operation was intelligence-led and had been planned for a long time by the military.
The minister stated during a fact-finding visit to Ashaiman by the Parliamentary Select Committee for Defence and Interior that “they [referring to the Military High Command] also said somethings were done that they believed should not have been done.”
He stated that there is a fundamental issue that must be resolved because the military and civilian population at Ashaiman have issues with each other.
“Both sides must learn to live together,” he intimated and added that the military community and the Ashaiman community must be able to live together as they need each other to ensure peace in the country.
“Ghana is a country with peace in West Africa. The military and the police need the civilians and vice-versa. Let us ensure that Ashaiman benefits from the military’s presence in the community.
“Whether it is recruitment, protection or ordinary jobs like fixing the road, use the military to do that and be friends to the military. And they will do that for you,” he suggested, noting that tensions between civilians and the military are avoidable.
“I have lived through four conflicts. In 1981, 1991, 1994, and 1995. So I know the effect of conflict. My area was involved in four conflicts. But like the Chairman said, all of us should ensure that the law works. If we are complaining about not using the law and due process, let’s allow the law to work,” he added.
Kennedy Agyapong, Chairman of the Defence and Interior Committee, called the military operation in Ashaiman an “unfortunate incident” that must be thoroughly investigated.
Mr. Agyapong, who is the NPP MP for Assin Central, urged the victims of the military brutalities to have patience and stay calm.
“You know that I stand for the truth and nothing else, and therefore we are going to dive into this matter and come out with the truth. You have an astute lawyer who has recounted what actually happened on that fateful day.
“Fortunately, he has given us a list, and as members of the Committee of Defence and Interior, we will sit on Tuesday to deliberate and find out the details of what actually transpired that day.
“I want to give advice. I am pleading that we live in a society and we as Ghanaians should live as one people, and therefore, no matter where you come from, you are a Ghanaian,” he stated.
“We have to be bold and speak the truth,” Mr. Agyapong said, urging residents to turn in the perpetrator. “And the truth is that if you know Kennedy Agyapong is the culprit, don’t be afraid to speak the truth.”
“I can see from your faces (I’m not a priest) that you are innocent people that experienced the brutality. Do not let’s protect anybody. Let’s come out so that the bad people in our society will be arrested,” he entreated.
He said he had always defended Ashaiman, that they are good people, explaining, “That is why I say that Ashaiman is my second home. If you don’t know Ashaiman and you hear the way people speculate about Ashaiman, you will think they are bad or evil people.”
“But I can tell you that all my investments and security guys I have at my home are all from Ashaiman. They are trustworthy people, and that is why I have given them these kinds of jobs.
“But what I know also about Ashaiman residents, sometimes we cover people. We know the people or the perpetrators and we all keep quiet. If we do that innocent people, like what has happened to you last week, will happen. I am pleading with you. Don’t shield anybody,” he asserted.
He promised that the committee would make a favourable recommendation to the government for compensation for the victims of military brutality.
By Ernest Kofi Adu