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12.12.2005 Regional News

Retired army officer denies terrorizing farmers at Fanteakwa

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Accra, Dec. 12 GNA - Major John Kwesi Keelson (rtd), a landowner at Fanteakwa District, on Monday denied allegations by two farmers, Yakubu Mustapha Kissi and Ebenezer Oduro that he had been terrorizing the farmers in eight communities of the District. He also denied using a gang of armed-men to assault, harass and intimidate farmers at Miaso Number One and surrounding communities, loot the personal effects of the farmers, their cocoa beans, foodstuffs and palm fruits.

Speaking to the GNA in Accra, Major Keelson said the land in the Fanteakwa area belonged to him and that the stories by the two persons were fabrications to tarnish his reputation and eventually take away the land from him. He said an assertion by Kissi that on November 3, some armed soldiers assaulted one Tetteh Kuper, a farmer from Osuaban at the Miaso market, took away his 25 million cedis and destroyed nine drums of palm wine meant for the distillation of akpeteshie was false. He said he left the area on November 2 for Winneba to attend to other family business so there was no way he could have been in the area as claimed by Kissi in his statement.

Major Keelson said he inherited the vast land of 426 hectares from his uncle, William David Ghartey, who died in 1975, and he retired from the Army to take care of the property. He said his uncle bought the land from the Agyarkwa and Kweku Larbi families, who were Akyems from the area. Major Keelson said before he came to the area his late uncle sold a small portion of the land to the Krobos and gave the greater portion of the land to the Kwahus to work on as tenant farmers. Major Keelson also said in the 1950s there was litigation between the Akyems and Kwahus over the land in the area but the Akyems won the case at the Accra High Court so some of the Kwahus, who were farming on the land, had to leave the area. He said since that time Kissi and Oduro, who are Kwahus, have petitioned all the previous governments and the current one to take the land from him but all these manoeuvres have failed to materialize.