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20.04.2004 General News

NRC continues hearings

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Accra, April 20, GNA - Madam Safiatu Abduallai, a Witness at the National Reconciliation Commission, on Tuesday could not hold her tears as she told the Commission that a soldier stabbed her father Abdullai Moshi, to death in 1982.
Her story was that a soldier who took advantage of the curfew, imposed after the December 31 1981 coup, and killed her father who resisted being robbed during the curfew hours at Kronum, near Kumasi. The soldier, whom she said she later got to know as Corporal Azumah, was never prosecuted even though the family made a report to the Suame Police, and the soldiers also followed up to assist investigations. Madam Abdullai said her late father, an ex service man, was working as watchman for a store.
She said her father had rented part of a building in which they stayed to one Mr Bonsu to be used for the store, in which he also served as the watchman.
Witness said in the during the curfew, the soldier came to the store, and after telling his father to bring out a paper to prove that he was the watchman, he ordered the household to enter into the rooms.
Witness said the family heard the soldier asking her father to bring out a bag, and a scuffle ensued as the father refused to bring the bag in addition to the initial request of the watchman's document. The father soon shouted for help, calling the name of one Braimah, but she came out to see the motionless body of her father lying on a bench.
She said the family had to sit beside the dead body till the curfew period was over at six in the morning.
In the morning the family found a knife still stacked in her father's stomach, and the intestines gushed out.
A report to a military detachment in the area identified the soldier as one Corporal Azumah, but neither the military nor the Suame Police to whom a report was made prosecuted the corporal.
Another Witness, Mr Zakari Dagomba, from Winiso, near Atwima said in 1982, one Sgt. Dapaah led some soldiers in the company of David Amankwa, Kwesi Effah, and Asare, all members of the then People's Defence Committee (PDC) to the Winiso Market and sold traders' wares at "controlled price".
The Witness, who said he was a butcher, said the soldier subjected him to a drill, and beat him up for selling his meat above controlled price. He said the soldiers paraded him in the town, made him crawl for about one and half hours on a road covered with gravel.
He said a soldier hit him on the ribs for being slow, as they marched him to the chief's palace where they continued molesting him.
They stopped when he complained of the pains in his ribs to the chief who intervened for him.
Mr Dagomba said, on return to the market he found that the soldiers had sold the meat he left behind at "controlled price", and taken the money away. NRC appeals to media to help find 'Killer' Accra, April 20, GNA- The National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on Tuesday appealed to the media and general public to help find the whereabouts of a soldier, nicknamed Killer, who terrorized people in Tarkwa and environs in the 1980's.
It is disputed whether the said Killer, who a number of Witnesses had mentioned in their testimonies is alive or dead.
A version has it that he is dead, some people say he is mad, and yet there are rumours that Killer is still alive and in serving in the Military.
Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, a Member of the Commission, said the Commission is putting bits and pieces of information on the atrocities on the said Killer and the situation on the ground on the extent of the brutalities in the Western Region in those years.
The Commissioner said he was in Tarkwa recently and also visited shafts in Aboso where a number of people, were said to have been dumped, or forced to run during those times.
He said he also visited Abyssinia Hill, Nsein and Edinaman. A number of Witnesses who testified before the Commission have mentioned the said Killer as having had a hand in the brutalities that resulted in the death or maiming of their dear ones in the Tarkwa area. Tuesday's appeal followed a testimony from Mr Moses Quaidoo, who told the Commission that soldiers stormed his store in 1982 and sold his wares at ridiculously low prices and went away with the proceeds. He said he was too terrified to ask the names of the soldiers, but said the action happened during the reign of terror of Killer. He said he had 25 boxes of cutlasses with each box containing 60 cutlasses, some sharpening stones, and carbide.
Witness said after selling all the cutlasses at six cedis each instead of the right price of 25 cedis and the sharpening stones at very low prices, the soldiers then put the carbide on the seats in his Datsun car and locked him in the boot and drove off.
He said he spent six hours in the boot before he was released, and added that he was ordered to roll on the ground several times after his release.
Mr Quaidoo said the soldiers also sold the carbide at controlled prices and gave him only 4,000 cedis for all his wares they sold. He mentioned the name of one Addae as member of the group of soldiers who molested him.
Witness said brutalities and the action sent him out of business and prayed the Commission to recommend compensation for him.
Dr Matthew Kyei, Medical Practitioner from Kumasi- Bremang, another Witness, queried the basis of the nation's use of military decrees, and asked if it was justified to continue using those decrees promulgated by military regimes even under constitutional governments.
He condemned military regimes and said at best the use of those decrees must stop so not give any impression of state endorsement of military rule.
Dr Kyei said he was then a first year medical student at the University of Ghana, in 1978 when students decided not to participate in the sixth anniversary celebration of the government of the military coup that brought the government of the late Col Kutu Acheampong into power.
Rather, the students decided to protest the event with a celebration they dubbed: "Ghana's Day of Shame" and staged a demonstration in defiance of the anniversary.
He said the demonstration went beyond the university campus, and spilled over with the erection of barricades on the Legon-Madina road. The response of the Police resulted in a police confrontation with the students on campus.
He said he was terrified of the presence of the police who fired teargas and in an attempt to flee he fell into the gutter of the Central Cafeteria, and broke the upper part of his knee.
He said he was hospitalised for 90 days, and at the moment has eight pins stuck in his leg following a knee surgery. Dr Kyei prayed the Commission to recommend an appropriate compensation for him. 20 April 04

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