ANOTHER MILITARY MAYHEM
…As soldiers beat up 85 year old farmer & others
Armed military officers on Tuesday, 8th December, 2009 pounced on and abused residents and indigenes of Ata-Ni-Ata, a farming community near Tarkwa, for attempting to picket against what they described as the continued disregard of their plights and rights by Aboso GoldFields Limited (AGFL), a subsidiary of GoldFields Ghana Limited.
The latest military terror, TODAY discovered, was more than what recently took place at Bawku and Nalerigu in the northern territory of the country where similar brutalities were meted out to indigenes of the two towns.
The military action has resulted in the hospitalization of more than ten of the protestors, including an 85-year-old farmer, at the Tarkwa government hospital with at least twenty others sustaining varied degrees of injuries.
According to Frank Appiah, one of the protestors although his group initially tried to resist the actions of the military personnel, they were easily overpowered by the armed military men, who obviously were incensed by the uncompromising posture of the picketers.
In a telephone interview shortly after their ordeal, Mr Appiah disclosed that they were just about to start the demonstration around 8:45 a.m., when the military officers pounced on them, beat and hit most of them with their weapons and, in the process, succeeded in disrupting the intended march.
Mr Appiah disclosed that by their actions and utterances, he believed the soldiers were sponsored by the Aboso Mining Company, adding that they fled the scene immediately a police reinforcement team arrived.
With information suggesting that the mining company masterminded the attack, Mr Appiah called for immediate investigations into the matter.
He singled out one Robert Siaw, a staff member of AGFL, as the one who was used by the mining company to induce the military men to disrupt the protest-march and to beat up the protestors.
Mr Appiah premised his accusation on the fact that Siaw had earlier threatened to deal with him and his group if they went ahead with the demonstration, thus deducing, “we do not need further evidence to conclude that they (AFGL) were behind the attack.”
“I believe that our evidence can defeat other evidence or argument at the law court. And I am saying this without any fear of contradiction that Aboso GoldFields Limited orchestrated the attack, nothing more nothing less!” he declared.
“The operations of Aboso Gold mines are killing us slowly; they pollute our water bodies and cause a lot of uneasiness with the dust that emanates from the ground and several attempts for governments to come to our aid have proven futile,” he stated and urged government and other stakeholders to attend to their plight as it gets worst daily.
Attempts to reach officials of AGFL were abortive as several calls to their offices and cell phones went unanswered.
However, when this reporter sought the views of Mr Daniel Owusu Koranteng, Executive Director of WACAM, an environmental Non-Governmental Organization, on the matter, he decried the actions of the military men and wondered how such dehumanizing treatment could be meted out to any civilian in a democratic dispensation.
He added that the dastardly act of terror meted out to the protestors could only be likened to the era of “culture of silence” where people are gagged for expressing their views and opinions.
Mr. Koranteng therefore called on the security agencies to, as a matter of urgency, institute full-scale investigations into the matter and bring the culprits to justice.
Last Tuesday's attack comes as one of the many military excesses in recent times, as there have been more than five of such military tortures this year alone.