Home > General News > Bawku Strip-Naked Show: Minister Hails Soldiers

Bawku Strip-Naked Show: Minister Hails Soldiers


Nii Laryea Afotey

A Minister of State at the Office of the President, Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, has defended soldiers who stripped two men naked in Bawku following the revelation of the sordid incident by a video footage yesterday, saying that the victims should count themselves lucky they were not even killed.

The victims have been identified as Rashid Abubakar who teaches at the Mustafiya Arabic/English School, and Justin Addo, also a teacher at the Methodist Junior Secondary School.

Hon. Afotey-Agbo, who was sworn in yesterday by President Atta Mills as a Minister of State at the Presidency, is also the Member of Parliament for Kpone/Katamanso in the Greater Accra Region.

Reacting to a question posed to him by Adabraka-based Hot FM yesterday, Nii Afotey-Agbo, popularly called ‘Lion’, maintained that the two were lucky because they were not shot by their captors.

He rhetorically asked his host, Adakabre, “What about those who were killed?” adding that the Regional Minister for the area, Mark Woyongo, had to crawl on the ground during the indiscriminate firing of firearms a few days before the victims were picked up by the military.

His host referred him to his disclosure that he is an expert at conflict resolution and asked what his take was on the recent stripping of two men naked in Bawku. That was when he defended the soldiers’ action and sympathized with the Regional Minister who had to crawl on the ground when he visited the conflict zone three or so weeks ago, as the Bawku municipality was subjected to a spate of indiscriminate firing by individuals.

His reaction is the first to emanate from officialdom and fails to address the anomaly about the violation of the human rights of the two adults, who were stripped naked, in the presence of their students. The two persons are still in the custody of the Police even as they require full medical attention, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.

In the video footage, Rashid Abubakar is the one whose hand is in P.O.P. having suffered a stray bullet wound earlier. The wound was persistently hit at by the soldiers during their ordeal. He teaches at the Mustafiyah Arabic/English School in Bawku.

His colleague, Justin Addo, on the other hand teaches at the Methodist JSS. Information has it that they are being held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, and would soon make another appearance in court.

One of them was suspected by the soldiers of being behind an attempt to shoot a potato farmer who was working on his farm. In the course of trying to flee, according to official reports, on a motorbike provided by his colleague, they were both arrested and subjected to the treatment which was captured in the video footage.

A search conducted on them did not yield any result, even though the security operatives said they found weapons on them. One of them continuously pleaded with his aggressors, saying that he is a teacher but that did not deter them from continuing with the savagery.

One of them was said to have been marched to his school stark-naked. The pupils, out of sympathy for the pitiable spectacle, could only exclaim, “Oh teacher!” So far, the military high command has not reacted to the story. But Major General Augustine Blay, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) earlier statement that an investigation had proved the story about the incident as untrue, boggled many minds when the pictures were presented to the public yesterday.

The CDS, who appeared to have harboured the story for sometime, was not charitable to the media, as he subtly castigated them for not sparing sometime to investigate the alleged action of the soldiers in Bawku. He added that had they taken some pain to probe the subject, they would have found out that it was mendacious.

The Bawku Municipality and its surrounding environs are under the security of a detachment of the Ghana Army Airborne Force deployed from their Tamale base over 100 miles away. Captain Frank Abrokwa, the Commander of the detachment, is very much despised by the non-Kusasi residents of the municipality.

The Mossis and Mamprusis on the other hand consider him as an impartial officer in the conflict which has pitched the Kusasis on one side against the Mamprusis, Mossis and others on another. The age-long conflict has taken a dip in recent times and some allege that the fact that the Interior Minister, Cletus Avoka, and the Presidential Spokesman Mahama Ayariga, hail from the area, is inimical to the search for peace in the place.

Both persons have persistently denied that they are taking sides in the conflict, with the Minister in particular arguing that the bloodshed outdates his appointment as minister. Various efforts at resolving the security challenge appeared to have remained useless in the face of the intermittent flaring of bloody skirmishes in the flashpoint.

Bawku is a border town and hosts traders from Burkina Faso and Togo, a feature which gave it a special economic status many years ago. The conflict has robbed the town of this economical advantage, making it a shadow of its past.


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