22.04.2005 General News

Military High Command to recall Ghanaian soldier

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...involved in rebels incursion into Northern Ghana. Accra, April 22, GNA - The Military High Command has been directed to recall Captain Imoro Sanda, the Ghanaian Unit Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force at Bouna, Cote d'Ivoire to assist in investigations following an attack by Ivorian rebels on Saru, in the Bole District of North-Western Ghana.

The directive, issued yesterday by the Defence Minister, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor followed the alleged involvement of some Ghanaian troops participating in the UN peacekeeping operations in Cote d'Ivoire, aiding an Ivorian rebel group- New Forces- to make incursions into Ghana to search for arms and ammunitions.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Defence and signed by Mr Frank Mpare, Chief Director, said the Armed Forces Council would meet soon to discuss other issues arising from the incident at Bole. "In the interim, it has been decided that all border patrols be reinforced and the military detachment at Chache, near Bole would be re-organized to ensure better control of the security situation around the border area."

Rebels in control of Northern Cote d'Ivoire on Saturday March 12 entered Saru, a village in the Bole District on the North-Western frontiers of Ghana, and abducted the chief of the area. The reports said Captain Imoro Sanda, a Ghanaian Army Officer, serving with the UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire, assisted the Ivorian rebels to raid the entire community ostensibly in search of arms and ammunition.

The group, which was allegedly led by one Sergeant Morro Quatarra, kidnapped the chief of the village, locked him up in a rebel-held cell in Cote d'Ivoire, shot one person and looted their belongings. Dr Addo Kufuor, who visited the area to acquaint himself with the situation there last Wednesday, said the situation was a very grave one, because it bothered on national security and could jeopardise the relative peace and stability in the country, adding that it was a slight on Ghana's territorial integrity.

The Chief of Army Staff, Major General Clayton Yaache, Mr Frank Mpare, Chief Director of the Ministry of Defence and some Senior Officers from the Northern Region accompanied the Minister. During interactions with the Bole District Chief Executive, Alhaji Suleimana Adam Achanso, he told the Minister that on March 13, this year, a report was made to the District Police Commander by the Police Officer at Tuna, another village in the District, that soldiers believed to be Ghanaians crossed over to Saru and arrested Saru Wura, the Chief of the village, and two other people and took them across the border. He said the District Security Council (DISEC) quickly met and decided that the Bolewura should be contacted and assisted to send a delegation to find out what was happening.

The delegation, which he said was headed by the Bolewura's son, Mr Seidu Alhasan Hambee later reported that UN soldiers in Cote d'Ivoire and the rebels carried out the operation.

The DCE told Dr Addo Kufuor that Mr Hambee reported to him that the rebel leader at Bouna and Captain Sanda explained that they suspected that a Ghanaian, resident at Bouna, was selling arms to some people across the border in Ghana.

They said on March 12, they laid ambush and arrested the Ghanaian gunrunner in Bouna and another Ghanaian, who was alleged to have come to collect some arms from him.

The DCE said according to the information, three people were ambushed but one of them escaped.

He said when those arrested were interrogated, the alleged Ghanaian collaborator said he was the son of the Saru Wura and this made the rebels to arrest the Saru Wura and one other person from his house at Saru.

The DCE said upon the intervention of the Bolewura's delegation to the rebel held area; the Saru Wura and two others were released to the delegation.

The DCE said the matter was not reported to the authorities in Accra because the Regional Officer of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) in Wa told them that the incident was a UN operation and was ordered from Accra.

To this, the Minister interjected saying "UN soldiers in Cote d'Ivoire have no jurisdiction to enter Ghana. Operations in Ghanaian territory by UN soldiers in Cote d'Ivoire cannot be ordered from Accra".

The DCE said that, apart from that incident, there were no reports of rebel incursions into that part of the country.

Dr Addo Kufuor later called on the Bolewura Amankwa Gbedese II, who corroborated the DCE's story about the incident.

The Minister described the incident as a "very serious issue", because it was with the help of Ghanaian peacekeepers stationed in Bouna that the rebels made the incursion into that area. Bolewura Gbedese said his son was sent with a delegation to negotiate the release of the Saru Wura and those abducted along with him.

He registered his displeasure about the situation in the area, saying that, because the first incursion was not opposed, the rebels had made subsequent ones into the District to loot and in one instance burnt down a house in the process.

Dr Addo Kufuor said the developments in Cote d'Ivoire posed a great treat to Ghana's stability and warned that Ghana would not compromise its security and sovereignty.

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