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26.04.2004 General News

Salifu Amankwah for NRC -ADM

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As the National Reconciliation Commission gradually marches to the end of its hearings on July 13, 2004, it has issued an invitation to a number of serving and retired military officers who have been mentioned in various human rights abuses.

The startling notice includes names like Major Pattington, a man who has been linked to many human rights abuses and even murder during the heady days of the P (NDC) regime, a revelation which has surprised many Ghanaians and to think that he is still being contained in the now disciplined Ghana Armed Forces.

One man whose appearance would assist immensely the reconciliation efforts of the NRC towards an accurate historical documentation of the atrocities of the aforementioned period is the retired WOII Salifu Amankwa.

The then dreaded man of Circle was alleged to have killed somebody at the area but was freed on the intervention of the powers at the time even after a prosecution process had commenced.

Salifu Amankwa managed a Task Force at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area under the P (NDC) era during which time his wanton human rights abuse was a household knowledge in Accra.

Also invited is Lt Col Gbevlo Lartey (Rtd). This man once commanded the now absorbed and tamed Rawlings' personal military unit, the 64 Forces Reserve Battalion, on which Mr. Rawlings relied for his personal protection.

Some members of this unit have been mentioned in many of the murders of both identifiable and unknown persons in the country when Rawlings wielded power over life and death in the country.

Gbevlo Lartey and Pattington are being dragged to the NRC for their alleged role in the ill-treatment of a certain John Chris Amematey.

Gbevlo Lartey was compulsorily retired from the military after he was implicated in a destabilization bid.

The NRC invitation list, unlike the previous ones include the allegations for which the persons are being called as contained in this story.

Apart from military officers, there are high-profile names like Kofi Djin, a one-time Secretary of Trade whose name has appeared on the floor of the NRC for various cases of car seizures. He is being invited for an alleged ill-treatment of one Amepofio Mensah.

There are also names of former militiamen, some of whom are being accused of murders, maiming of fellow citizens and outright thievery.

Some of the narrations on the floor of the NRC sounded so weird that many wondered whether indeed these acts of savagery and inhumanity did happen in this country.

Last week a one-time People's Defense Committee chairman in the Sefwi-Kyiraa area of the Western Region, narrated how in Bibiani where as a teacher, he was stripped naked in the present of his pupils and the people of the town and flogged by soldiers for forming a Holy War Committee which he said was intended to enhance the ideals of the so-called revolution.

When asked by Bishop Palmer-Buckle whether there was a holy war, he answered in the negative adding that some of them joined the craze out of youthful exuberance.

The petitioner told the commission if there had been a holy war the country would not have in the situation it finds itself today.

On another occasion a commissioner after a sordid narration from a petitioner expressed the hope that all Ghanaians could be present at the commission to hear how their compatriots were brutalized and ascertain their veracity. This she said, would have obviated the occasional dismissal of such stories as mere hearsay and incredible by certain persons.

The NDC flag bearer is on record to have condemned the narrations at the NRC as hearsay, a position which drew copious outrage from members of the public because they claim that even the leaders of the so-called revolution agreed that such atrocities did happen but lamely attributed them to what they describe as the excesses of the revolution.

Some of them even went ahead to apologise to Ghanaians.