The Coalition of La Associations (COLA) says the reasons given by officials of the Ghana Armed Forces following attacks on some of its members and journalists during a protest over alleged encroachment of La Stool lands by the military are completely untrue.
The group maintains that the beating up and manhandling of protestors and journalists by soldiers was premeditated and that the military has been insincere in its account of the development.
In a statement, the military high command explained that it received intelligence that some civilians were demonstrating and moving towards Burma Camp and that a reconnaissance team was dispatched because the group had become violent leading to an altercation.
However, in a Citi News interview, spokesperson for COLA, Jeffery Tetteh disputed the above assertions saying “unfortunately we cannot corroborate the account given by the Ghana Armed Forces. In the first place, I want to say that all that the military is saying is damage control. There are a number of faults in the statement.”
“To be very honest, we never demonstrated in Burma Camp as the statement said. The very place we went is a land called Kpledzo which doesn’t fall within the Burma Camp catchment area. In the second instance, we never demonstrated and the Military is aware. We just went on a site visit to our land which we discussed with the police which they understood,” he added.
Also, the military administration mentioned that it used reasonable force in restraining the protestors since the site of the demonstration houses vital military installations which, if destroyed, will negatively impact national security.
It said, in the process of doing that, some persons including journalists got injured.
But the group’s spokesperson finds the explanation questionable.
“They also said, they had vital installations there, but there was never any installations there since time immemorial. The land is virgin land and never has something built on it. They also said, the youth were violent, but we were never violent. It was the military that came in and provoked our people. Again, they said they used reasonable force, it is something I am still trying to understand. I don’t see what reasonable force will allow someone to use the back of a weapon to hit someone’s head and inflict wounds.”
“We don’t know which reasonable force there is in pushing someone down, kicking and walking over him. I don’t know how reasonable this is. So this is our conclusion that the military came there with a premeditated idea to come and cause harm to unarmed innocent civilian s and that is exactly what they did. So, all the things in the statement are false, and they are only trying to do damage control”, Jeffrey Tetteh lamented.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for the La Dade-Kotopon constituency, Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, has asked the government to, as a matter of urgency, bring finality to the impasse.