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Report on police-military clash in Tamale presented to two ministries

BY: Caroline Boateng
Mr Patrick K. Acheampong (right), former Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Chairman of the committee, presenting the report to Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister of the Interior. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY
Mr Patrick K. Acheampong (right), former Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Chairman of the committee, presenting the report to Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister of the Interior. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

A joint police/military committee, which investigated the clashes between personnel of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in Tamale last year, has submitted its report to the ministries of the Interior and Defence.

The contents of the report were not divulged at the presentation.

However, receiving the report, both the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, and the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, promised Ghanaians that the recommendations in the report would be implemented "as soon  as possible," and "will not gather dust."

Context

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, some soldiers attacked some police officers in the Tamale metropolis.

The clash occurred when the police arrested a soldier for allegedly assaulting a civilian.

The soldier, Air Force Corporal Eric Darko, while being processed for court at the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Police Service, took to his heels.

He was re-arrested and while being brought back to the station, some soldiers accosted the police officers and allegedly assaulted them to release their colleague.

That began the clashes that resulted in police officers in the metropolis being attacked.

The police also armed themselves to fight back resulting in some civilians being caught up in the ensuing clashes.

Efforts

In his statement, Mr Dery said efforts to foster unity and reconciliation among officers of the GPS and the GAF began immediately after the clashes.

The efforts to foster unity involved the hierarchy of the GPS and the GAF travelling together to Tamale in the aftermath of the clashes.

He said the investigative report would enrich what was already being implemented to ensure that the clashes did not happen again.

Among the terms of reference (TOR) of the joint committee was for it to look into other clashes of the past.

"The report will, therefore, serve as a blueprint, going forward," Mr Dery added.

He said the report would be submitted to the President and also the Attorney General for advice.

The Defence Minister,  Mr Nitiwul, said the report would be studied, and stressed that if it contained any security implications it would be on the, "need to know basis".

"If there are things in the report the public needs to know, they will be informed," he added.

Presentation

Submitting the report, the chairperson of the committee, who is also a senior state attorney, Ms Victoria Asieduwaa, said the committee was presenting two documents, the report itself and its executive summary.

According to her, although the committee, inaugurated on June 22, 2018, was expected to submit its report within two months, "exigences of time and logistical constraints" prevented it from meeting the deadline.

Ms Asieduwaa revealed, however, that in the course of their work, it came to light that the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) was not timely and vigorous enough in its efforts to resolve previous incidents.

She, therefore, urged all partners in the sector to employ "timely, vigorous and sustained engagements to control emerging crisis situations.

She expressed the hope that the report would positively contribute to police-military cooperation in the country.

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