Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) says it sanctioned the actions of some marauding soldiers who unleashed mayhem on residents of Ashaiman in the Greater Accra region, and brutalised residents in the area.
According to GAF, the action of the soldiers was sanctioned by the Military High Command.
Seeking suspects who killed Imoro Sheriff
They were there to avenge the death of their colleague Trooper Imoro Sherrif also nicknamed Mando who was allegedly killed by ‘thugs’ in the area.
Parts of Ashaiman invaded
They invaded places such as Taifa, Newtown, Official Town, Valco Flat, and some parts of the Middle East all in the Ashaiman Municipality.
Armoured tanks, 2 military helicopters provided air support
The soldiers invaded the community with military vehicles including armoured tanks, and two helicopters providing air support.
Soldiers attacked residents
The heavily armed soldiers started attacking residents, preventing them from even stepping out of their homes.
Flogging of residents
In some videos on social media, a young man is heard screaming amid sounds of flogging.
Residents forced to roll in the mud
In other visuals, some residents were forced to roll on the ground in the muddy puddles created by the early morning rains.
Crawl on bellies
Videos circulating on the internet depict civilians being instructed to lie on the ground and crawl using their bellies, while others were subjected to whipping.
According to reports, persons who flout the military’s directives were flogged and manhandled.
Fear and panic
The soldiers have terrorized the local populace, causing fear and panic, and have physically assaulted residents in the neighbourhood.
In defence of brutalities, GAF in a statement described it as an operation in parts of Ashaiman to swoop in a man-hunt for some criminals and not for vengeance.
According to GAF, “the military operation, which was sanctioned by the Military High Command, was not to avenge the killing of the soldier but rather to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime.”
They added that their “swoop” had led to the arrest of about 184 suspects aged between 21 and 47 years old and have they have since handed them over to the military police who will subsequently send them over to the Ghana Police Service for screening and further action.
According to GAF, during the course of their operation they had seized 29 slabs and 57 mini slabs of suspected Indian hemp and amnesia among other forms of the narcotics.
“The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) also wishes to place on record that the swoop was not targeted at innocent civilians but was an intelligence–led operation conducted on suspected hideouts of criminals and crime-prone areas in the general area,” they stressed.
“GAF however acknowledges that regrettably some innocent persons might have been caught up in the operation and consequently suffered some distress due to the location they found themselves at the time,” they added.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Armed Forces has urged the general public to “provide useful information, support the security agencies in weeding out criminals and miscreants from our communities and to desist from shielding and conniving with such suspects in order to the curb criminal activities in the country.”
3rd Battalion of Infantry
Imoro Sheriff is with the 154 Armoured Regiment of the 3rd Battalion of Infantry based in Sunyani in the Bono Region.
The soldier is said to be in Accra attending a course at 37 Band Line which is the Ghana Armed Forces Music School and sought permission to visit his parents at Ashaiman Zongo-Laka where he grew up.
Visit to girlfriend at Ashaiman Taifa
It is alleged that he went to visit his girlfriend at Ashaiman -Taifa .
Parents residence at Ashaiman Zongo-Laka
According to information, the solder was returning from his girlfriend’s house in Ashaiman-Taifa and heading towards his parents residence at Ashaiman Zongo-Laka when he was killed.
He was found in a pool of blood near Amania Hotel in Ashaiman in the early hours of Saturday.
Though he was carrying a laptop and other electronic gadgets, the attackers are said to have made away with only his iPhone.
Speaker admits Norgbey’s statement
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin admitted a statement by Mr Ernest Henry Norgbey, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashaiman on the military invasion.
The Speaker made the disclosure on the floor of the House when Mr Norgbey brought up the issue.
Mr Bagbin noted that he had received some information on the matter, which had compelled him to hold on for two days.
This, he said, would also enable the MP to give a more comprehensive statement on the development and then to also receive some information from the ground; adding that “and that is why we will not give you the opportunity to make your statement today.
“Thanks for drawing our attention because your Constituency will have to know what steps have been taken in that direction”.