Military Says Sorry
ALTHOUGH THEY have not issued a formal statement on the recent incident where two teachers were stripped naked by soldiers at Bawku in the Upper East Region, the Director of the Ghana Armed Forces Public Relations Directorate, Col. Nibo, has expressed regret about the event.
He however avoided putting blame at the doorstep of the military since, according to him; he was not in a position to do so, adding however that the episode was an isolated one. “We have watched the video clip; it is an unfortunate incident that took place. I believe this is an isolated case that should not be blown out of proportion”, he said.
Speaking on Metro TV’s News Night for the first time since the video clip of the incident was televised; he said the action could have been dictated by a desperate situation. “It is unfortunate that the incident happened, but sometimes desperate measures must be brought to bear on desperate situations… We should also not over-blow the situation in such a way that it affects the moral of the soldiers who are operating in that area”, he said.
The people of Bawku, he said, should liaise with the soldiers so that together they can restore normalcy instead of, as he put it, condemning the soldiers. “It is important the people in Bawku area cooperate with the security forces, so that both or all parties involved will be able to resolve the issue that is at stake”, he continued.
Col. Nibo is unhappy however that nobody is talking about the live bullets that were seized from the two Bawku residents. “Unfortunately, no one is also talking about the ammunition that the people were carrying, the concentration has shifted to the stripping, which is unfortunate”, he added.
Continuing, he asked rhetorically; “The people who were carrying the 34 rounds of ammunitions, what were they going to use it for? There is a prohibition on carrying arms and ammunition in the area, so let us look at both sides of the situation and try to see how best the situation can be resolved between the security forces as well as the people of Bawku”.
He agreed that once the suspects were arrested they should have been handed over to the Police for further investigations, adding again that nobody condones the stripping of the suspects. The stripping of two teachers in Bawku a few weeks ago and a subsequent showing of a video footage of the incident caused public outrage.
The debunking of the story when it was first carried by DAILY GUIDE, and lately the showing of the video footage, has dealt a blow to the traditional ‘quick to deny stories’ attitude by PR outfits.
In the case of this particular story, the Chief of Defence Staff, based on a likely flawed briefing given him, went ahead to debunk the story. He had said in an address at the end of an inter-service shooting competition in Yaohima, Sunyani, that investigations had proved that the reportage was wrong.