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Bawku Naked Show Ok – Minister


Mark Woyongo

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mark Woyongo, has taken exception to the condemnation of soldiers who stripped two male adults naked in Bawku, explaining that it was intended as a deterrent to others who sought to kill others.

The minister joins his colleague Minister of State at the presidency, Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo who had earlier stated that the nude men were even lucky they were not killed. Speaking to Peace FM yesterday, the regional minister, who had had to lie flat on the ground on the orders of some soldiers during the recent skirmishes in the municipality, said the stripping naked of Rashid Abubakar and Justin Addo, both teachers in the strive prone town, is more acceptable than the killing of innocent citizens which the suspects, according to him, were believed to about to do.

According to Woyongo, “The people who were alleged to have been put through that treatment were going to shoot at people who had gone to harvest their potatoes and I think that that treatment was better than if they had killed those people.”

Although the minister expressed regret that two men were stripped naked, he noted, the complaints following the aberration are unjustified, considering, as he put it, that the people of Bawku live under abnormal circumstances.

The stripped teachers are now languishing in Bolgatanga police custody, awaiting trial after a court remanded them. Woyongo had set up a committee to probe the stripping of the teachers when the story broke some weeks ago, but yesterday, he was evasive about the outcome of the probe, saying that he was out of the country.

But with the evidence available, analysts are of the opinion that the regional minister needs not to look far. “When a soldier misconducts himself in Accra, complaints about it can be acceptable, not so however in Bawku because this is a conflict zone. “If a soldier maltreats somebody in Accra, fine, we will have all the reasons to make all the noise but Bawku is a conflict area and they are trying to find ways of solving the problem…I think that some of these things are done to serve as a deterrent so that others will not repeat the same thing,” he told his radio host.

He warned against what he described as over-criticising the soldiers because this could demoralize them. Over-flogging the action meted out on the two teachers, he said, should not be done because when the soldiers become indifferent and take the backseat, matters could deteriorate and the repercussions could be serious.

“Let us not over-flog the issue, we don’t have to make the soldiers feel unwanted in Bawku, we don’t need to do things that will let them take a backseat. If the soldiers are disillusioned, if we discourage them from operating in the area, they will just fold their arms and sit down and we will have serious consequences,” he said.

Some soldiers deployed to the conflict zone have been accused of misconducting themselves, taking sides in a protracted ethnic-based conflict which has been part of the area for many years now. Captain Frank Abrokwa, the Officer Commanding the detachment of soldiers drawn from Airborne Force of the Ghana Army, has particularly been cited by the Mamprusis of being unfair to them.

He was alleged to have once upon a time killed a local by shooting him at the back of his head in front of his relations. The Captain has often denied that he is doing anything unusual in the performance of his assignments.

When news about the stripping of two adults naked hit the country three weeks ago, he was the officer who explained that their apparels were so weak that when they struggled with soldiers who arrested them, their clothes were reduced to shreds.

The video footage showing the two naked persons being maltreated, rifle muzzle in the mouth of one of them, caused public outrage in the country, especially coming against the backdrop of the denial by the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen Augustine Blay.

Source: dailyguideghana

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