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26.06.2003 General News

Giwa lured me into coup attempt - Ex-Corporal

By gna
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Tamale (Northern Region) - Lance Corporal Braimah Mohammadu on Wednesday told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) in Tamale that Corporal Giwa lured him to join him to overthrow the Rawlings regime for him to be re-instated in the army.

Testifying before the Commission, Lance Corporal Mohammadu, said: "My Lord, in 1983 Carlous Giwa invited me to join him to stage a coup and that if we succeed, he will make sure that I was re-engaged in the army".

He said soldiers, including Iddrisu Abukari, Awudu, Anaba and Seidu and to two others whose names he could not mention, were among those recruited to carry out the coup. Corporal Mohammadu said Giwa planned the coup in Tamale and supplied them with guns and military uniform to execute it.

He said they left Tamale in the night and got to Accra the next morning and went to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Offices (GBC) and started firing to disperse the soldiers on guard.

Corporal Mohammadu said: " My Lord, we ran short of ammunition and had to escape to Burma Camp and when we were approaching the 37 Military Hospital, we heard that Major Courage Quarshigah had taken over the GBC Studios.

Corporal Mohammadu said from there, they escaped to the Shai Hills in the Greater Accra Region where they took refuge in the forest for three days. The petitioner said while in the forest, Giwa suggested to them to escape to Cote d'Ivoire but he declined while the six soldiers followed him to that country.

He said he managed to come back to Tamale but had to flee to Togo where he engaged in farming along the Ghana-Togo border. He said he stayed in Togo for four years and returned to Diare in the Savelugu-Nanton District of the Northern Region to hide for fear of his life.

The witness said after the 2000 elections, he went to Accra to ask for his pension and luckily for him, he was paid five million cedis while 5,000 cedis was also paid him as gratuity. He said he was told that Former President Rawlings had ordered that suspected coup plotters should not be given their gratuities.

Corporal Mohammadu said he was enlisted into the Ghana Army in 1963 and after his training, he was sent to the 4th Battalion of Infantry in Kumasi as a Weapons Instructor. The petitioner said during the 1966 coup he was involved in a lorry accident while on duty, adding that seven soldiers died while he sustained spinal injuries.

He was admitted to the Cape Coast Hospital but was later transferred to the 37 Military Hospital in Accra for further treatment Corporal Mohammadu said when he recovered; he was sent to the Officers' Mess at the 4th Battalion but was later transferred to the 6th Battalion of Infantry in Tamale.

He said his superior officers wrongly declared him unfit and he was discharged after 12 years of service. Prof (Mrs) Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, a member of the Commission, asked Corporal Mohammadu: " If somebody approaches you today and asked you to help to stage a coup will you volunteer?"

"My Lord, if Giwa had not escaped to Cote d'Ivoire and had remained in Ghana, we would have succeeded", he said, adding, " I was confident that we were going to succeed because I was sure to fight my way through since both Giwa and I were marksmen".

Asked whether in the Army he was not trained to be loyal to the state, he said: "My Lord, I was also told to shoot and kill and defend the nation".

He said Rawlings always wanted to rule the country and that he and his colleagues wanted to cleanse the country because Rawlings was unfit to rule the country. "We were also prepared to hand over to civilian government if we had succeeded"

Prof. Mensah-Bonsu again asked whether he could run a government. He replied: "I am an illiterate and cannot run a government but Giwa was educated and a better soldier than Rawlings because he attended the "Boys' Company" where he was well trained.

Corporal Mohammadu called on the government to reopen the Boys' Company, saying "we could produce clever soldiers for the nation if the Company was re-established." Asked whether he would advise that ex-servicemen should be recruited to overthrow the government. He said no, the government was good adding, "we wanted to push out Rawlings because he was not a good leader"

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