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17.04.2005 General News

Torture & deaths at Military installations: MP Dares CDS

By Larry-Alans Dogbey(Network Herald)

Minority Chief Whip John Akologo Tia fears a creeping indiscipline in the military occasioned by a seeming lack of control from leadership, resulting in recent tortures and deaths at its various installations could have serious security implications for the country. He is even more worried about the seeming inaction from the military hierarchy on these developments and challenged the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Seth Obeng, to "seat up and address these unfortunate increasing cases of tortures and deaths at Military installations since the development is denting the image of the Ghana Armed Forces and its hard-earned international reputation."

Mr. Tia said is saddened that such unfortunate incidents are occurring at a time when the nation has resolved to restrict the military to its core duty of defending the territorial integrity of the country.

In his view if the situation was not checked, it could lead to lack of respect and public discontent towards the Ghana Armed Forces, a situation he said could pose a serious disaster to the nation.

The MP said it was regretful that the killers of former Northern Regional Chairman of the Conversion Peoples Party (CPP), Alhaji Issah Mohammed Mobilla have still not be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction in spite of assurances from the Attorney General Ayikoi Otoo.

He pointed to the international interest in this particular case as it was identified in the United States 2004 Human Rights Report as politically motivated killing, saying the world is watching to see how the country deals with it.

Mr. Tia also expressed regret that in spite of his assurance under oath before parliament's Appointments Committee to ensure that the full report of the Board of Inquiry set up to investigate the heinous crime at Tamale's Kamina Barracks was published for public consumption, the Minister for Defence, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor has not only remained silent, but has reneged on the promise he made.

"The Directorate of Public Relations of Ghana Armed Forces (DPR) is also yet to make public the findings of the Board of Inquiry."

Whilst the family of the late Mobilla has expressed its disapproval of government's, the Police Service and military's handling of the Mobilla issue, the family of the late Naval Ordinary Seaman Philip Kuekebey who was also alleged to have been tortured to death in a Military Guardroom at the Tema Naval Base has also registered its lack of confidence in another Military Board of Inquiry set up by the Military High Command to investigate the matter.

According to media reports the late Kuekebey and two of his colleagues went to the Tema Township to celebrate the victory of Accra Hearts of Oak over the bitterest rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko in the Confederations Cup match in Kumasi on Sunday, January 9.

The three allegedly jumped over a fence wall on their return and were arrested.

Mr. Michael Kuekebey, father of Philip was reported to have said that some superior officers believed to be sympathizers of Kotoko ordered them to be beaten and later thrown into Military Guardroom as a form of punishment.

Like Mobilla's case, a post mortem examination performed at the 37 Military Hospital suggest that the late Kuekebey died of internal breeding (cerebella hemorrhage) at the Military Guardroom long before arriving at the37 Military Hospital.

Mr. Tia told the Network Herald that the two deaths and one which allegedly occurred at the private residence of President Kufuor involving a military officer some three or so years smack lack of control over junior officers and men of the armed forces by the military hierarchy.

Even though he conceded that the military is like any human institution where such cases are bound to happen, the MP thought that the frequency is alarming and an indication of a creeping indiscipline in the internationally respected Ghana Armed Forces.

He described the CDS who is also Chairman of the ECOWAS Defence and Security Commission as a distinguished military officer and a man of honour who with few days to his exit as CDS must do everything humanely possible to salvage the fast eroding image of the Military as well as his personal image.

"This will prevent his tenure from been tagged as one of the grievous periods in the history of the Forces," the minority chief whip added.

Having received, meritorious Service Medal from the European Command of the United States Armed Forces, for his outstanding leadership and assistance to the successful ECOWAS response to the Liberian crisis and also made a member of the United States Armed Forces' International Hall of Fame, Tia said he would want to see the CDS expedite action on such these murders.

He thought that the constant call from the military to people to exercise restraint has outlived its usefulness. Mr. Tia said the CDS owes it a duty to the bereaved families and indeed the entire country to ensure that these allegations of torture and death hanging on the neck of the military are cleared and justice done.

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