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We condemn militarisation of keeping peace in Ghana - OccupyGhana

Fri, 2 Jul 2021 Source: GNA

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OccupyGhana, a social and political non-partisan pressure group, has condemned the incidents of violence and killings at Ejura in the Ashanti Region by the military, allegedly urged on by the police.

Two persons were reported dead and four others injured when military men clashed with demonstrators over the murder of one Ibrahim Mohammed, a social media activist, who had been campaigning for the country to be "fixed."

OccupyGhana, in a statement, said It was painfully ironic that the police, who apparently did not have answers as yet to the circumstances under which the activist was killed, could then line up with the military to use “deadly force” in marksman style, as videos and photos of the incidence suggested, resulting in the death of two citizens at Ejura.

"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."

The statement said 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.

“The use of force led to the ‘Kume Preko killings’ and ‘Techiman South killings’, it said, adding that: "to the best of our knowledge, no one was punished for those killings."

It said in contrast, there was non-deployment of the military during the "Occupy Flagstaff House" demonstration and though 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," it said.

The statement said soldiers were built and trained for war and that the presence of the military in any civil event could turn that location into a potential war zone, where one side had all the firepower purchased for them, with the citizens at the receiving end of the force.

It said that was why it was 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," it said.

"The last citizen-funded bullet fired on citizens should be the last ever."

The statement said in the face of repeated executive failure to lead on that matter, OccupyGhana demanded that Parliament must now take the lead by passing a law that regulates the involvement of the military in matters concerning the interior.

It said that law must provide for military activation only when irrefutable evidence showed national police personnel would be overwhelmed by an escalating event.

That law must also provide for a full scale judicial inquiry into each such activation, whatever the results were, reports published and punishments meted out to those who flouted the law and caused needless deaths, it said.

"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," the statement said.

Source: GNA