General News Wed, 14 Jan 2004

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Witness says his brother disappeared in 1993

Accra, Jan 14, GNA- Mr Gustav Korang, a witness on Wednesday told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that during the search for his brother, Victor Asare Korang, Mr Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of the Weekly Insight told his sister that the brother Victor, who disappeared in May 1993, was killed.

Witness said the last time he saw his brother was on May 7, 1993, when his brother left for wake-keeping at Nima and went to Sakumono to prepare the burial ceremony of their late cousin Mrs Nancy Amegashie whose body was to be conveyed to Adukrom in the Eastern Region. Mr Korang said before his brother left for the funeral he told him there were Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) personnel at the wake-keeping grounds.

Witness said the family had virtually made a search for Victor in all the prisons to no avail and when his sister Esther Vera Korang contacted Mr Pratt on some publications of some killings during that time, he allegedly told her that Victor had been killed. He said one Karim, then at Nsawam Prisons told him in 1995, that he had been together with Victor in the cells of the BNI, and transferred together to the Nsawam Prisons, but Victor was one day taken to an unknown place.

According to Mr Korang, Victor, who lived in London between 1977 and 1993, was arrested on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport. Witness said the brother was accused of collaborating with dissidents and detained for three months in the BNI cells.

The family was not allowed to visit him, Witness said, and added that after filing a petition, Mr Peter Nanfuri, then Head of the BNI, gave him a note to the Prisons Headquarters, and later located Victor very weak in the Ussher Fort Prisons.

He said the Prison Authority allowed his sister, Esther, who filed a petition against the detention of her brother, to send Victor to the hospital in the company of other prisoners.

Mr Korang said after the treatment, his brother remained in custody till October 1995, after spending almost a year, without any charge. Witness said his passport was seized and given back to him after two years, with a warning not engage in any dissident activity. Witness said the family never heard of him since then and presumed Victor was dead.

Mr Korang expressed gratitude of the family through the Commission to a number of individuals and organisations including Mr Douglass Hanes former British Foreign Secretary, Baroness Chalker of the Amnesty International, and one Reverend Fleitcher of the Finchley Community Church.

Witness appealed to the Commission to help the family to trace his brother, and that if he were dead, locate the body for a fitting burial.

General Emmanuel Alexander Erskine, a Member of the Commission explained that the Commission had to look at the matter of Mr Korang, which happened outside the mandated period of unconstitutional regimes because his was a spill over from events from 1989. Chairman of the Commission, Mr Justice Kweku Etrew Amua-Sekyi gave an assurance to sort things out for the Witness.

NRC witness says soldier brutalised her

Accra, Jan 14, GNA - Madam Victoria Lankai Aniagyei, a Witness at the National Reconciliation Commission on Wednesday said, a soldier brutalised her with gun butt and made her collect filth from a gutter with her bare hands in 1979 on suspicion of hoarding goods.

The Witness, who said she was a dealer in cosmetics said, after the June 4 1979 military coup, she had earlier been subjected to maltreatment at the Makola Market where she had a store, and gone to collect the remaining goods in the store which soldiers had broken into. She said soldiers surrounded the Market, and held all the traders hostage amidst shouts from their colleagues to fire at them, but they were saved on the intervention of a Town Council official.

Madam Aniagyei said at another time, a soldier accused her of selling above government controlled price, arrested her and marched her to the Powerhouse, while she was pregnant and he accused her of having a bulging stomach because she had hidden some of her goods there.

She said the soldier did not accept the pleadings of a senior officer.

Madam Aniagyei said she was also arrested at the Makola Market, beaten and paraded through the Salaga Market and sent to the Post Office Yard. She said when they got to the Post Office, one soldier asked if she had brought some meat, after which a group of soldiers pounced on her and beat her up and threatened to send her to Burma Camp, to be detained but she was spared after negotiations her husband, an ex serviceman had with the soldiers.

She said she delivered a child who grew to be epileptic and later died.

Her husband, who, she said, was beaten with a gun butt, complained of headache and died later.

Madam Aniagyei prayed the Commission for appropriate compensation. In reaction to the brutalities, General Emmanuel Erskine, a Member of the Commission, wondered why some Ghanaians callers on radio stations, still welcomed coups and invited them to come to the Commission to listen to the sordid deeds and have a change of heart.

Another Witness, Madam Josephine Carr prayed the Commission to help her get back a rental unit house, House No. C.37 Kaneshie, which she said, she acquired from the State Housing Corporation and fully paid for but was allocated to one Ms Comfort Jackson.

Madam Patience Amba-Sackey prayed the Commission to help her get the benefits of her late husband, Ex Cpl Joseph Ofoe Amba-Sackey, a former Military Intelligence Officer, who was detained and later left the Military Service for safety after the December 1981 coup. She said her husband was seven months short of the required 18 years before he could qualify.

Commission assured her the matter could be considered on humanitarian grounds.

Source: GNA

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