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02.11.2005 General News

Gross Abuse of Human Rights by Security Agencies

By The Servant
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Obuasi -- Reports reaching the offices of “The Servant” Newspaper has uncovered alleged assault on innocent civilians by military and special services division (SSD) personnel involved in a joint operation by Anglogold Ashanti to flush out illegal gold miners from their concessions.

These heartless officers according to the report have turned away from the usual norm of arresting suspected “galamseyers” and have rather resorted to physically assaulting innocent persons who have no connection with “galamsey” activities.

One of such barbaric acts was allegedly committed by a ten- man joint force comprising a police officer, two S.S.D. personnel of Anglogold Ashanti and seven military officers barely a month ago at a mining community called Binsere.

Our information is that, on the day in question, two military officers of the team met two persons Kwaku Nyamekye and Kojo Acheampong who is physically challenged in the town which is quite distant from the mine pit area and mercilessly assaulted them without any evidence that they were illegal miners.

Kwaku Nyamekye told our reporter that, he was at home when he heard the sound of a warning shot in the town and started moving closer to find out what was happening. Suddenly he came across the two men and an S.S.D. officer who demanded to know where he was coming from.

He told them that he wanted to find out if his brother who is believed to be a galamseyer had been arrested. But before he could finish answering the question, one of the military officers hit him on the chest with the butt of the gun and he fell.

As he attempted to rise he was hit again and ordered to kneel in the middle of the stony feeder road. “There after, they compelled me to hold my ears and squat for almost 20 minutes before releasing me” he lamented.

His colleague Kojo Acheampomg who is physically challenged in the left leg, was reportedly riding a bicycle when he was also crossed by one of the two military officers, who allegedly booted the cycle in the front, causing him to fall

As if that wasn't enough the S.S.D. official with them allegedly gave him a dirty slap, whiles another military officer whipped him with a waist belt. Acheampong said the assault continued till he pleaded with them to spare him since he was disabled. An eye witness Eric Opoku (alias Kojo Twum) confirmed the incident to our reporters and said the two are not “galamseyers”.

. Prior to that operation however, our reporters learnt that a team of security officers invaded the house of the assembly member Hon. Joseph Ndah and met his absence but gave a message of threat to the wife in the presence of one Opanin Kofi Duodu-Dwaatoahene to pass it to the husband for onward delivery to the youth of the town. “Tell your husband that our ammunitions are not meant to kill animals but humans so he should warn the entire youth of the town not to undertake any “galamsey” here, else we will not hesitate to kill anyone” the wife confirmed.

The wife and Opanin Duodu alleged that after delivering the message, one of the officers destroyed a kitchen stool in her house for no obvious reason.

Our reporters later learnt that the mode of operation of these officers has been mostly tyranic and fearful as they resort to sweeping through the heart of the towns instead of protecting and fortifying the mining areas. In a related development, the assembly member for Sanso, a suburb of Obuasi has accused the joint security force undertaking special operations by areas of alleged within A. G. a. Concessionar stealing practices leading to the loss of over ¢30, 000,000.00 belonging residents.

Honourable Benjamin Annan made the allegation during an interview he granted to Hello FM news last week.

He was commenting on the alleged invasion of certain houses in the town by the joint force under the pretext of searching for missing items.

Honourable Annan said although he respects the right of AngloGold Ashanti to protect its property, it can not do so at the expense of the inhabitants.

“Any time they embark on such operations, they resort to terrorizing and intimidating innocent civilians.

He has therefore appealed to the leadership and management of A. G. A. to ensure that, there is no violation of their rights as human beings.

When management of Anglogold Ashanti were contracted on the issue on Monday 24th October, the acting general manager in charge of human resources Mr. Sasu who is the substantive estates manager declined to comment, saying he had no knowledge of the matter.

He therefore pleaded that our reporters held onto the story till the arrival of the substantive G. M. H. R. Mr. Y. B. Amponsah who was said to be in the U. K. and was expected back in office on Friday 28th October, 2005.

He however promised to brief the P. R. O. on the issue for onward submission to the G. m. H. R. for the appropriate response.

When our reporter called again at the office of the G. M. H. R., he was reported to have gone to an unknown destination although he was highly believed to be in the municipality.

Several efforts to reach him via cell phone however did not materialize.

When he was finally reached via his secretary he said he was in a meeting but said that Mr. .Y.B. Amponsah was ready to talk to us on the issue if only his version can influence our story

When we replied no, the secretary then told us to go ahead with the story.

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