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Soldiers are built, trained for war – OccupyGhana condemns military presence at Ejura protest

Pressure Group, OccupyGhana, has condemned the attack on some protesting youth in Ejura by soldiers on Tuesday, which has resulted in the death of two persons and left four others severely injured.

In a press statement on Wednesday, it recounted some civil protests in the country which turned deadly due to the presence of the military, although the personnel were deployed to de-escalate the riots.

“The deployment of the military and deadly force led to the Kume Preko killings and Techiman South killings. To the best of our knowledge, no one was punished for those killings. In contrast, the non-deployment of the military during the Occupy Flagstaff House demonstration meant that although the police wrongfully arrested some protesters, no one was shot or maimed.”

The group noted that, the use of deadly force to control crowds should be the last thing that any government would authorise following the numerous casualties recorded over the years.

“Soldiers are built and trained for war. The presence of the military in any civil event could turn that location into a potential war zone, where one side has all the firepower purchased for them by the citizens at the receiving end of the force. This is why it is the civil Police that should lead out in all matters involving the interior,” part of statement read.

OccupyGhana further called on Parliament to deliberate on a bill that would regulate the military’s involvement in matters concerning interior security.

“That law must provide for military activation only when irrefutable evidence shows national police personnel will be overwhelmed by an escalating event. That law must also provide for a full scale judicial inquiry into each such activation, whatever the results are, reports published and punishments meted to those who flout the law and cause needless deaths.”

On Tuesday, two persons were shot dead, while four others sustained gun injuries after some protesting youth of Ejura Sekyedumase clashed with Military and Police personnel.

Since the death of the 40-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed, aka Kaaka, the youth say they are willing to sacrifice their lives until they get justice for him.

The youth stormed the Police station to inquire about the extent of investigation into the murder of their colleague. They stressed that they want the Police to leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to book.

Although the Police told them that two persons have bee arrested in connection with the crime, the agitated protestors said it was just a façade.

Pressing home their demand for justice, the youth hit the streets and were met by the Military and Police personnel.

Four soldiers were seen moving in a horizontal line with a police water cannon charging on the protestors.

Initially, the Military started shooting into the sky but at some point, when the protesters charged, they started shooting into the crowd.

Resulting in some new casualties.

Occupy Ghana has commiserated with the families of the deceased adding that “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.”

Read full statement below:

OCCUPYGHANA®️ PRESS STATEMENT

OccupyGhana®️ Condemns the Killing of Ghanaians and the Militarisation of Keeping the Peace in Ghana

OccupyGhana®️ condemns in no uncertain terms, the incidents of violence perpetuated against Ghanaians in Ejura in the Ashanti Region by the military, urged on by the Police. These citizens were demonstrating against the murder of Ibrahim Mohammed, a social media activist who had been insisting that the country needed to be fixed. It is painfully ironic that the Police, who apparently do not have answers as yet for the circumstances under which the activist was killed, could then line up with the military to engage in the maiming and killing demonstrating citizens in Ejura in marksman style, as videos and photos of the incidents suggest.

Our history is replete with several instances of the deployment of the military and deadly force to quell protests; and they have almost always ended in the shooting and killing of civilians. One would have thought that after the 28 February 1948 Crossroads shooting incident, the use of deadly force to control crowds would be the last thing that any government of an independent Ghana would authorise or tolerate. We reject the notion that the only way that authorities know of to de-escalate tension, is the deployment of the military, and that the military’s only knowledge about such matters is the use of deadly force.

The contrasts in our recent history are sharp and real. The deployment of the military and deadly force led to the Kume Preko killings and Techiman South killings. To the best of our knowledge, no one was punished for those killings. In contrast, the non-deployment of the military during the Occupy Flagstaff House demonstration meant that although the police wrongfully arrested some protesters, no one was shot or maimed.

We clearly have learned no lessons from these, hence that national embarrassment on live TV when the military was called in on our Parliament, however rowdy the election process of the Speaker was, literally at the dawn of this stage of the Fourth Republic.

We have learned no lessons also because these incidents have never been thoroughly investigated, and no one is ever punished for taking the lives of citizens of the land through such needless military action.

Soldiers are built and trained for war. The presence of the military in any civil event could turn that location into a potential war zone, where one side has all the firepower purchased for them by the citizens at the receiving end of the force. This is why it is the civil Police that should lead out in all matters involving the interior.

That is why we condemn the militarisation of keeping the peace in Ghana. It must end forthwith. The last citizen-funded bullet fired on citizens should be the last ever.

In the face of repeated executive failure to lead on this matter, We demand that Parliament must now take the lead by passing a law that regulates the involvement of the military in matters concerning the interior. That law must provide for military activation only when irrefutable evidence shows national police personnel will be overwhelmed by an escalating event. That law must also provide for a full scale judicial inquiry into each such activation, whatever the results are, reports published and punishments meted to those who flout the law and cause needless deaths.

We express our deepest condolences to the families of the dead. We wish those in hospital all the best and speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.

Yours for God and Country,

OccupyGhana®️


Source: Ghana News

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