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13.05.2004 Regional News

Witnesses narrate how their relatives were tortured

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Bolgatanga, May 13, GNA- Three witnesses, who petitioned on behalf of their dead relatives on Tuesday, narrated to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) the ordeal they went through when they were arrested and tortured by soldiers in Bolgatanga in 1972. Mr Roland Agorigo, Mr George Adombilla Aseko and Mr Ayuure Anonsige, appeared at the Commission's sitting in Bolgatanga to seek redress for their deceased brothers.

They submitted that Adombire Atiah, Abundaa Aseko and Akakre Anonsige, now deceased were unlawfully arrested, shaved with broken bottles, beaten and paraded through the principal streets of Bolgatanga on three market days. Besides, the deceased were also made to carry blocks while matching.

The witnesses, including petty traders in foodstuffs and livestock accused the erstwhile border guards, the police, and members of former civil defence committees for the atrocities.

Mr Akarim Apeesiya, Mr Ayiriya Eliasu, and Madam Assibi Anolusko, who appeared before the Commission, all claimed they were victims of Committees for the defence of the Revolution Defence (CDR) and the border guards' brutalities.

They said the agents of the revolution took away their bags of foodstuff and countless livestock.

Mr Tong Zagskopaya, a dealer in the local gin (Akpeteshie), said soldiers seized 23 drums of the stuff he was bringing from Kumasi at Buipe. He told the Commission that he was made to drink a cup full of the gin following which he collapsed. Besides, he said two sacks full of bathroom sandals and boxes of lantern shades he had bought for sale were also seized.

Mr. Zagskopaya said the soldiers then dumped him into a different commercial vehicle, only for him to regain consciousness on arrival in Bolgatanga.

Dr. Mohammed Kandem Kanbong, a former Director of Tourism, told the Commission that he was unlawfully dismissed from the Tourism Department, while he was away attending a conference in Vienna, Austria.

He said it was at the conference that he received a letter from his office informing him that he had been dismissed by a directive from the Secretary of Culture and Tourism.

He told the NRC that he never received any response from petitions he made to the Chairman of the PNDC, his Ministry as well as the Public Service Commission.

The Commission told witness that tone of the petitions and replies he made to the Sector Ministry as presented to the NRC seemed to have been too harsh, but assured him that the Commission would do its best to look into his petition. 13 May

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