Anger mounts over Tamale military attack on police
The clash between some military men and policemen in Tamale last Wednesday has incurred the displeasure of the public, Parliament, the Military and the Police High commands, the political parties and civil society organisations.
Social media platforms were awash with comments from the public condemning the clash.
Many of them said it was unfortunate that the police and the military who should protect the citizenry were rather creating fear and panic.
Armed soldiers reportedly attacked some policemen at various duty points in the Tamale metropolis last Wednesday.
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The armed soldiers, who were on board three branded military vehicles, according to eyewitnesses, first stormed the Northern Regional Police Headquarters and the Tamale Metro Police Command, both situated on the same compound, and fired warning shots, prompting the police to return fire.
Afterwards, the soldiers attacked policemen stationed at various banks and other duty posts in and around the metropolis without any provocation.
At the sitting of Parliament Thursday, both the Majority and the Minority condemned the clash, saying it was a recipe for insecurity and disaster.
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who is the Member of Parliament for Tamale South, said there was growing insecurity in Tamale following the clash.
He said the people of Tamale were living in a state of insecurity and fear, stressing that the breakdown of law could be a recipe for disaster.
He said the ministers of Defence and the Interior needed to be invited to the House to assure the public that the people of Tamale were secure and free from attacks.
"Mr Speaker, I am inviting you, so that the Minister of Defence and the Minister of the Interior will be obliged to come before this House to assure the public that we are safe and secure and that the people of Tamale will not have any reason to live in fear and panic.
"A breakdown of law and order can be a recipe for lawlessness. It will lead to the erosion of public and civic confidence in the security agencies to maintain law and order in the country and to safeguard our territorial integrity," he said.
Supporting the call for the Defence and the Interior ministers to appear before the House, the Deputy Majority Leader, Ms Adwoa Safo, said every citizen deserved to live in a state of security.
Therefore, she said, it was a great disappointment that security men who were supposed to ensure law and order would engage in such a clash.
"The appropriate ministers should come to the House to brief it on how to deal with the matter," she said.
Following the request by the Minority Leader and the comments by the Deputy Majority Leader, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Michael Aaron Oquaye, ordered the ministers of Defence and the Interior to appear before Parliament next Tuesday to apprise the House of the circumstances leading to the clash.
The Defence Minister, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, and the Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, will also be required to brief Parliament on measures being taken to arrest the situation and prevent its recurrence.
Similarly, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, has condemned the clash, saying security personnel who are supposed to work together to ensure peace, law and order are rather creating tension and panic in the region.
Describing the incident as unacceptable and unfortunate, he said the clash was as a result of the failure of the commands of the military and the police in the region and served notice that the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) would not sit aloof for such a thing to happen again.
Addressing a durbar of military and police personnel at the Bawa Barracks in Tamale on Thursday, Mr Saeed, who is also the Chairman of the REGSEC, said: “Those who will be found culpable in last Wednesday’s incident will not be spared, irrespective of their rank or position.”
He also gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the commanders of the various units to immediately organise their troops to march through the principal streets of the Tamale metropolis as part of efforts to restore the confidence of the public in the two security agencies.
The durbar was held as part of measures by the REGSEC to resolve the impasse between the police and the military in Tamale.
Present at the durbar was a high-powered delegation from both the military and the police commands at the national level and representatives from the ministries of the Interior and Defence.
Air Commodore Alfred Augustine Appiah represented the Chief of the Defence Staff, while Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Prosper Agblor and COP Nathan Kofi Boakye represented the Inspector General of Police (IGP) at the durbar.
Mr Saeed said a committee had been set up to fully investigate the circumstances that led to last Wednesday’s clash which resulted in the injury of eight policemen.
Set up by the REGSEC, the committee, comprising representatives of the ministries of the Interior and Defence, is also to help bring the perpetrators of the clash to book to serve as a deterrent to others and also forestall a future occurrence of that incident which is a potential threat to national security.
Air Commodore Appiah, for his part, said the Military High Command would advise military personnel on the need to prevent the occurrence of such incidents and pledged that investigations would be conducted into the clash.
Mr Agblor urged his men to maintain peace, saying “if law and order breaks down in this country, we have nowhere to go, hence the need to work together”.
“This is why we have to work with our fellow military personnel to ensure the safety of the country,” he added.
Later, a parade comprising the military and the police was held at the Jubilee Park in Tamale to demonstrate to the public that the two institutions are ready to work together and also assure members of the public that they can go about their daily activities without fear or panic.