Bawku Strip-Naked Show: Secret Video Out
The vehement denial by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj. Gen Peter Augustine Blay, that soldiers stripped two men naked in Bawku recently, has been deflated by video recordings of the incident arriving from the conflict zone.
The pictures, which showed what happened in graphic detail, was secretly captured by someone at the scene without having his gadget seized and destroyed like others had, by the irate soldiers.
Apart from being stripped naked, the two men were subjected to thorough beating, with blood dripping from their bodies as captured by the video recording, a copy of which is available to DAILY GUIDE.
Even though the Commander of military detachment at Bawku, Captain Fred Gyebi Abrokwa, had also denied that the two suspects were naked, the video recording said it all. In the video, a soldier in a war gear was seen interrogating the two suspects who were sitting on the ground stark-naked, amidst wailing.
In one of the pictures, a soldier was shown kicking a suspect; and in another, the same man put the muzzle of his G3 rifle in the mouth of his prey, kicking him with his boot.
One of the men, with his hand in P.O.P, had his two hands tied behind him as his captor meted out punishment on him, including using the butt of the gun to hit him while he groaned, with no rescuer in sight.
He was heard telling the soldier, “I am a teacher, I am a teacher” for the soldier to consider him, but to no avail. Blood dripped from the wounds inflicted upon them by the soldiers who appeared to be enjoying the punishment they were administering on their victims like a bunch of sadists.
When DAILY GUIDE carried the story about soldiers stripping two persons naked, some persons, including General Blay, sought to debunk the presentation as exaggerated. The CDS was the latest person to condemn the story as a fabrication when he delivered a speech to mark the closing ceremony of an inter-service shooting competition by the Ghana Armed Forces at Kwahima, Sunyani, last week.
Subtly condemning the DAILY GUIDE story, he reprimanded the media for exaggerating the Bawku incident where two men were reportedly stripped naked by soldiers of the Airborne Force on internal security duties in the conflict zone.
“Our actions, as well-intentioned as they are, could be misconstrued, misrepresented or even condemned outright by persons who may not have the right information or the requisite knowledge,” he said, as he quickly turned to the Bawku incident.
The Bawku nude story, he said, illustrated his position that the media sometimes misrepresented facts. Investigations, he noted, had revealed that the reportage on the so-called soldiers stripping two persons naked was exaggerated and factually incorrect.
Continuing, the CDS claimed that the story led to the vilification of the military when according to him, “a little patience by the media for investigations would have averted the unwarranted vilification”.
After the incident, the Officer Commanding the detachment of the Ghana Army Airborne Force, Captain Fred Gyebi Abrokwa, denied the story, claiming that the suspects’ trousers were weak at the time of their arrest.
The trousers of the naked suspects, he explained, were reduced to shreds at the time they were struggling with some soldiers. He defended his men, saying they did not deliberately strip the suspects naked as reported by the media.
The two persons were arrested on suspicion of being troublemakers, with one of them having 30 rounds of ammunition on him. When the mother of one of the suspects, a nurse called Memuna, heard about what her son was undergoing at the hands of the soldiers, she rushed to the scene, only to be shoved away by the armed men.
The man with the bandaged hand had sustained a stray bullet wound in an earlier shoot-out in the municipality. Atrocities by soldiers, even in battlefields, are outlawed by international conventions and to date, suspects in some of the most deadly battles are still been hunted.
Soldiers, who humiliate prisoners-of-war, as in Iraq, are subject to sanctions. In Iraq, a female American soldier was court-martialed for humiliating an Iraqi man with a dog. During its many days of sittings, the now defunct National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) heard many cases about human rights abuses and even murders committed by soldiers in the 80s.
For those old enough to recall scenes of the atrocities of 1979 and the 80s when soldiers went on rampage in the streets of the regional capitals including Accra, this was a re-enactment of those sordid moments in the country’s history.