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The UN Peace Ambassador (middle) criticized the Military when he paid a working visit to the Central Regional Police Command

The United Nations (UN) Eminent Peace Ambassador to Ghana and the Country Director for the International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA) Ghana Chapter, Dr Samuel Ben Owusu has condemned the Military for the brutalities meted out to some residents of Ashaiman following the killing of a soldier in the area.

He said this after paying a working visit to the Central Regional Police Commander ACOP Edusah Poku.

He said in a statement after the visit that “We had a great discussion on Peace related matters concerning the region and after that we prayed with them for peaceful Policing.

“I also condemned the incident of military brutality on citizens in Ashaiman as a breach of Democracy, even as we condemned also instance of justice and the killing of a military man by civilians in that area.

“This kind of colonial aggression on servicemen or even all individuals irrespective of their crime, must stop, no man deserves to die of any crime but must have the opportunity to be tried by a competent judicial system and this is the essence of democratic dispensation.”

A Security Expert, Professor Kwesi Aning criticized the Military Command for how the brutalities meted out to some civilians at Asahiman by some men in uniform were handled.

According to him, the response by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in their statement was rushed, and not thought through.

In his view, the reaction of the GAF undermines their own credibility.

Speaking on the News 360 on TV3 Thursday, March 9, Professor Aning who is also the Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, said “The bigger challenge in the failure is that Parliament has not spoken, and the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Interior, with a deputy who was a former personnel from the Ghana Police Service, ought to show leadership and that leadership is lacking.

“The Deputy Defence Minister, as I have said earlier, has shown political maturity and humility by saying, look, there were some unfortunate excesses but it is Parliament, particularly the Committee on Defence and Interior, that needs to invite the people who did the planning to come and answer some tough questions and to reassure the public post that conversation that we have learned these lessons, those who carried out the excesses will also be dealt with.

“The Militray tells us that it was an intelligence-led operation or that they used intelligence and were targeted. I think the series of explanatory statements coming from the army itself have been unfortunate. When you read the press release carefully and you do a discourse analysis of the release, it was hastily put together, it wasn’t thought through and undermines this credible and creditable institution.”

GAF confirmed Tuesday’s operation in Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region by some officers, saying the exercise was sanctioned by the Military High Command.

It said it was an intelligence-led operation conducted to fish out the killers of a military officer and not to avenge the killing.

Residents in Ashaiman complained of military brutalities on Tuesday, leaving many with various degrees of injury.

This followed the stabbing to death on Saturday, March 4 of a young soldier by name Imoro Sherrif, who had gone back to the area ostensibly to visit his parents.

He is said to have been found in a pool of blood near the Amania Hotel in Ashaiman.

“GAF wishes to state categorically that the military operation, which was sanctioned by the Military High Command, was NOT to avenge the killing of the soldier but rather to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime,” a press release on Tuesday said.

Signed by Director General of Public Relations Brigadier-General Emmanuel Aggrey-Quashie, the press release noted that the operation at Ashaiman-Taifa and Tulaku led to the picking up of 184 suspects between the ages of 21 and 47.

They have since been handed over to the Military Police and sent to the police “for screening and for further action,” the release noted.

According to GAF, 29 slabs and 57 mini-slabs of substances suspected to be Indian hemp and amnesia were seized in the course of the operation.

It expressed regret that some innocent persons were caught up in the swoop and consequently suffered “some distress due to the location they found themselves at the time”.

“The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) also wishes to place on record that the swoop was not targeted at innocent civilians but was an intelligence-led operation conducted on suspected hideouts of criminals and crime-prone areas in the general area.”

Meanwhile, GAF has urged the public to provide any useful information that will lead to the weeding out of criminals and miscreants from communities and has asked that people “desist from shielding and conniving with such suspects in order to the curb criminal activities in the country”.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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