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07.06.2017 Feature Article

Is The Military Covering Up Its Footprints?

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JUN 7, 2017 FEATURE ARTICLE

You probably didn’t think that we would get here. That there would come a time, the Military High Command would stand accused by its own men. The Command would be accused of covering up or withholding some information about its slain army officer which occurred 10 days ago. Indeed that seemed unlikely to happen and it also challenged conventional wisdom.

But here we are, standing in a crossroad, smack bogged by new details of information arising out of that unspeakable incident.

The men are said to be livid about the way the Command has been handling the whole tragic event. And they fear what happened to their comrade could happen to them if serious measures aren’t taken. The upset soldiers who spoke to a journalist in Accra have also vowed to go public if the command refuses to release information that precipitated the fall of the hero.

In an audio trending on the Social Media this week, the journalist said the angry soldiers are many. “It isn’t just a handful of men or a few individuals that saying this, they’re many,” he said.

Today marks ten days of Major Mahama’s tragic death. Was he really on a 20-kilometre walk or jogging?

Or he was attending a scheduled meeting with the Galamsey operators at Denkyira Obuasi? If true why didn’t he use a military vehicle? Ghanaians are pleading with the Military High Command to let us know what really transpired prior to officer’s tragic end.

Be mindful the schemer schemes but the binocular eyes of the owl prowls scrupulously. Untroubled by the turn of events, it vows to unmask the masked beast. You know the longer it takes the murkier it becomes but it all works for good inasmuch as investigators and intelligence officers keep their fingers on the tabs and their eyes on the ball.

In the midst of all this the stories don’t add up. Something isn’t right but who knows what. Major Mahama had been replaced by a lieutenant officer (name still withheld) to enable him travel to Accra to write his promotional exams. It is understood; while he was gone a sting operation against Galamsey operators at Denkyira Obuasi in the Upper Denkyira West District in the Central region had been carried out and a number of equipment seized by the said officer and his men.

Following that a meeting was scheduled between the officer and the Galamsey operators, ostensibly to release the equipment back to the operators. But the office either failed or refused to attend the said meeting. Instead he commissioned four noncommissioned officers –two of them WO’1s and the other WO’2s. The four according to reports were nearly lynched by the operators.

But what happened to them upon their return to base would raise your eyebrows. Reports have it that they were sent back to Accra interrogated and subsequently put in a guardroom. It’s believed the men were not released until the murder of Major Mahama.

Why did the military do that? I have no idea.
I can however, speculate that perhaps the operation was either not sanctioned by an authority or they realised it was uncalled for.

Remember a few weeks before the murder of the army officer, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu had said illegal small-scale miners in some areas in the Ashanti region were using the military as shield to protect them.

“The law enforcement agencies, especially the military are protecting an illegality and I think that this is time to the truth be told. Most of the sites we visited today were heavily manned by the military command,” Mr. Amewu said.

However the deputy minister of defence Derek Oduro (Rtd) debunked the allegation that military personnel were protecting illegal miners. “The Ghana Armed Forces hasn’t sanctioned such an operation. But any military officer involved in such an act may be doing so by himself and if found culpable would be punished, he pointed out.

So where was I?
Major Mahama is back to base and the commander that relieved him returns to Accra. And I assume he was briefed about the happenings while he was gone. Was he to continue where the lieutenant left off, given the fact that four of his men came under attack?

If yes, then he wasn’t supposed to travel by himself to meet with the illegal gold miners as we’re made to believe. If no that would suggest that Major Mahama embarked on the trip without informing or notifying any of his subordinates. But that doesn’t make sense.

Standard operation in the military requires that an officer must have a runner or body guard whenever he’s going anywhere. However in a volatile place such as Denkyira Obuasi he ought to even have more men unless he was oblivious of the situation in the area which also begs the question.

The military has what they call Standard Operative Procedure (SOP), a former army officer told me. “The procedure simply requires soldiers to move in pairs. So granted major Mahama was scheduled to attend a meeting with the supposed galamsey operators whose equipment had been seized by the lieutenant he was to have a runner with him,” the officer said.

According to him, the same standard requires the individual to contact for example the District Chief Executive, the Traditional as well as opinion leaders in the area. He suggested a forensic intelligence was needed to help get to the bottom of the case. This he noted is in the best interest of soldier.

“Even though you’re there to protect the people, your security and safety is equally important. So the procedure must be followed to the letter. We have lost a soldier who had sworn to protect our national sovereignty and the people. Thus I think it’s prudent for the military high command to come clean with any exhibits that would assist investigators to unravel any mystery that surrounds the murder.”

On Monday President Akufo-Addo posthumously honoured Captain Maxwell Mahama the distinguished soldier who was murdered in cold blood by blood thirsty mobsters. He’s now Major Maxwell Adam Mahama, may his gentle soul continue to rest in peace.

Yes, we all pray the fallen hero will have a peaceful rest but that won’t happen until all the pieces that led to his murder are pieced together. So far about 41 people in connection with the killing of the army officer have been arrested .

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Gordon Offin-Amaniampong, © 2017

This author has authored 268 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: GordonOffinAmaniampong

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