Investigate & prosecute culprits in Tamale police-military skirmish

By Kweku Antwi Jnr
Investigate & prosecute culprits in Tamale police-military skirmish
Investigate & prosecute culprits in Tamale police-military skirmish

Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, a civil society organization, has called for an independent and transparent investigation into the battle between some police and military officers in the Northern Region.

The centre said any officers who will be found culpable should be dealt with as stipulated by the laws of Ghana.

Some soldiers in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, on Wednesday May 16, 2018, went on rampage, attacking police officers and some residents following the arrest of their colleague.

The soldiers allegedly launched the attack in protest of their colleague who had been arrested for attacking a taxi driver.

“A military man had a problem with a taxi driver, and he seized the taxi cab and beat the taxi driver up, so he [taxi driver] subsequently reported to the Police. The police picked up the military officer but the military protested the move, saying, they would not allow that to happen”, eye witness told the media on Wednesday.

“The military men were in an armoured car which was fully armed. They beat almost everybody they saw including residents”, the witness added.

Condemning the actions of the military in a statement signed by the Executive Director and Security Analyst for Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, Adib Saani,  and copied to Prime News Ghana on Thursday, May 17, 2018, said “recently, there was similar violence at the Standard Chartered Bank Junction and at the “Agric Traffic lights” in Tamale”.

He said ‘”on March 4, 2018, a police officer with the Bolgatanga Special Weapons and Tactics Unit was allegedly assaulted by some uniformed men believed to be members of the Military”.

“These acts of lawlessness contravene the guidelines and strategies agreed on by both the Military and Police High Commands at a meeting held on Tuesday 24th April, 2018 at the General Headquarters, Burma Camp”, the statement added.

Read below the full statement:

CULTURE OF IMPUNITY FESTERING POLICE / MILITARY CLASHES

We received with consternation, the news of an alleged attack by some Military Personnel on Police Officers performing their daily duties leading to a free-for-all-fight and “indiscriminate firing” from both sides in the streets of Tamale.

This has become a distressing trend as it is not the first time Police and Military Personnel have clashed in the country.

Recently, there was similar violence at the Standard Chartered Bank Junction and at the “Agric Traffic lights” in Tamale.

On March 4, 2018, a Police Officer with the Bolgatanga Special Weapons and Tactics Unit was allegedly assaulted by some uniformed men believed to be members of the Military.

These acts of lawlessness contravene the guidelines and strategies agreed on by both the Military and Police High Commands at a meeting held on Tuesday 24th April, 2018 at the General Headquarters, Burma Camp.

These guidelines which include fostering cordiality, effective communication and increased interaction between the two institutions, are meant to address the clashes. What the guidelines however fell short of is the inability of the two institutions to agree in principle to avail their Officers to be prosecuted when they fall foul of the law.

The Military Police is charged with investigating Military Personnel who misconduct themselves and applying the necessary sanctions if possible whilst the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards (PIPS) is charged with doing same for Police Personnel in country.

But there has always been a tendency of both institutions sweeping under the carpet damaging evidence against their Personnel or not applying strong sanctions against rogue Officers when investigation is conducted “in-house”. The clash is a national security crisis that needs an urgent and robust response before it tumbles out of control.

First, the laws of the country would have to be enforced to the latter as it has been observed that a major reason behind this criminality is due to the seeming culture of impunity festering in the country.

 An independent and transparent investigation should be conducted and Officers found culpable dealt with as stipulated by law.

This we believe will send a clear signal to all Security Agents that, the law will catch up with anyone who transgresses.

It goes without saying that, the Police and Military are sister bodies that should at all times be alert, exhibit high level of professionalism and most importantly, stay united to foster peace and security in Ghana.  

…Signed….

Adib Saani

Executive Director/Security Analyst, Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building

 

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