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Mixed reactions in Wa over punishment for soldiers who brutalised residents

There are mixed reactions among residents in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region following the submission of a preliminary report by the four-member committee tasked to investigate the military brutality that occurred on Thursday, July 1.

In the report sighted by JoyNews, the Committee indicated that all military personnel in Wa barracks who were on duty on July 1, during the brutality except the Duty Officer, have been punished.

While three of the military personnel had been demoted, eight others were tried and awarded 30 days in detention each by the disciplinary board of the Ghana Armed Forces. 

Again, the rest of the 86 soldiers involved have been recommended for transfer out of the region, whilst the trial of the Duty Officer will be held on July 14. 

But commenting on the developments, some residents and shop owners at the Wa-Tindamba Crescent, said the punishments did not measure up to the injustice they suffered at the hands of the soldiers.

Earlier, some members of the community had lauded the steps taken by the Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul.

While the first group had described the punishment as just, a cross-section of the residents is demanding for harsher punishments.

Eighty-six soldiers were identified to have allegedly taken part in the inhumane act that was not sanctioned by the military authorities

They have so far interrogated nearly 30 of them and will continue the interrogation on Thursday.

The preliminary investigation also revealed that 11 persons suffered various degrees of injury including Gafur Mahama, who developed a fracture on his thighbone and has undergone surgery.

Three other persons were admitted at the Wa Municipal Hospital.

Some of the victims interrogated reported the loss of 13 mobile phones, a tricycle, and an amount of GHC1,460.

They have, however, retrieved only 7 mobile phones and the tricycle returned to its owner. 

The investigation revealed that the incident started when a soldier, whose name has been withheld alleged that his mobile phone was snatched from him around 6:00 pm on June 29.

He informed his colleague soldiers who in turn informed the Duty Officer that same day.

The Duty Officer is alleged to have permitted the troops to go into the town to search for the missing mobile phone which led to the alleged brutality in Wa.

Sources say the 86 young soldiers who were part of the act passed out between April 30, 2021, and June 4, 2021, and were posted to the 10 Mechanized Battalion Aggrey barracks.

But speaking to JoyNews, the residents insist the abuse from the military personnel was a disgrace to the institution and should not go without harsher punishment.

“We know the military institution and the discipline that is there. They should be sent back for another round of training.

“How can you finish training come to Wa for only 4 days which we don’t believe and you go into town to brutalize people over your missing phone,” they fumed.

Source: Ghana News

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