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24.06.2004 General News

Witness says she was hit by a bullet from soldiers

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Accra, June 24, GNA- Madam Mary Odey Laryea a fishmonger on Thursday told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that she was hit by a bullet in 1979 and this resulted in the incapacitation of her right arm.

She said even though three of the soldiers who were undertaking a search exercise when the bullet hit her, took her to the 37 Military Hospital where she was operated, she was abandoned and her mother bore all the medical expenses.

Witness who said she was 25 years by then and married when the incident occurred noted that the incapacitation of her right hand had affected her especially in the provision of her daily bread and appealed to the Commission for compensation.

Madam Laryea said after the coup in 1979 she and her sisters were at their Asene residence in Accra when they heard gunshots adding that they went to scene to see what was going on.

She said they stood in a wooden building while they watched what was happening when she suddenly felt her right shoulder went numb adding that when she touched it, she felt blood coming out only to realise that a bullet had hit her.

Madam Laryea said she spent one month at the 37 Military Hospital after the surgery that resulted in the deformation of her right arm.

Mr. Akuamoah Boateng a former Produce Clerk with the Produce Buying Company (PBC) at Ashanti Effiduasi told the NRC that he was dismissed in 1985 for keeping about 145 kilograms of cocoa beans belonging to three members of his unit in a shed.

He said he was arrested and kept in cells for five days after which he was put before the National Investigations Committee (NIC) where he was charged for keeping cocoa beans for three farmers even though he explained that the farmers were members of his unit.

Mr Boateng said the NIC asked him to pay 15,000 cedis reparation fee, which his uncle paid adding that about a month later the District Officer brought a letter to him indicating that he had been summarily dismissed.

He said though he petitioned the Ombudsman, which later wrote to the PBC that he was wrongfully dismissed, the PBC did not re-instate him Witness said he worked for 19 years with the PBC but nothing was paid to him after his dismissal.

He appealed to the Commission to help him receive his entitlements and all the benefits due him.

Another Witness, Mr John Kofi Asare, an Ex Police Inspector said soldiers seized a car shipped to him by his son from Germany in 1982 adding that the car had since not been given to him.

He said he paid 10,000 cedis as clearance fee to Customs Officials at the Tema Harbour when he went to clear the car, a Datsun 160G, only to be told that soldiers had come for the car for their operations.

Witness said after three weeks of pursuing the car, the Customs Officials asked him to find out from the State House where the soldiers had packed a number of cars and find out whether he could identify his car.

He said on his third visit to the State House, the soldiers asked the people whose cars had been seized to run three times round the park after which they were asked to go home and never to come there again. Mr. Asare said he had then been paid a gratuity of 30,000 cedis out of which he paid the 10,000 cedis clearance fee adding that he lost both his money and the car.

He pleaded with the Commission for compensation.

Madam Comfort Amegbletor, a trader from Nsawam also told the NRC that her 12-year-old niece, Gifty Amegbletor, was beaten to death over missing cooking oil, at the Nsawam market in 1980 She said after a year of court hearings, they heard nothing about the case adding that the culprits including two Militiamen, a toll collector and one Awenye, owner of the oil went away without any charge. Witness appealed to the NRC to investigate the case and let justice prevail.

Madam Amebgletor said she and Gifty's mother, Paulina Amebgletor were traders at the Nsawam market at the time of the incidence adding that one Thursday, a market day, after they had displayed their wares, one of the market women informed her that Gifty was being beaten by some people.

Madam Amegbletor said she followed up and realised that two Militiamen, one of whom she mentioned as Otchere and a Toll Collector called Auntie Lizzy were beating Gifty whom they said had stolen the cooking oil.

She said when Gifty was later released Awenye, owner of the said missing oil followed up and beat her up at their shed adding that the girl fainted and died the same day at the hospital.

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