The Member of Parliament for Wa Central, Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, is not entirely satisfied with the disciplinary actions taken against the soldiers who assaulted some residents of Wa in the Upper West Region.
Giving updates on the issue in Parliament on Thursday, July 8, 2021, the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul indicated that three of the soldiers have been demoted.
“Eight other soldiers who were identified have been charged, tried, and awarded 30 days each in detention by the disciplinary board of the Ghana Armed Forces. The Staff Sergeant has been reduced to Corporal rank, a Corporal has been reduced to Private rank, and the Sentry on duty who was a Lance Corporal has been reduced to a Private.”
Mr. Nitwul further noted that the duty officer will also face scrutiny.
Dr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo in an interview on Eyewitness News argued that although the response is commendable as such did not happen in the past, they may not be punitive or sufficient enough to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
He recommended that offenders be made to face legal action.
“I do appreciate the fact that the military has taken some steps. Only that I hoped that these men would have been made to face the law. They committed illegality by infringing on people’s rights, they thus need to suffer the consequences of their actions. No one is above the law.”
“The sanctions given them are not harsh enough. If they only get to be demoted, these actions will be repeated, because after all the punishment will be light.”
On Thursday, July 1, 2021, a video showing armed soldiers beating some residents of Wa on the street went viral.
Some eyewitnesses who spoke to Citi News said the soldiers claimed they were searching for their stolen mobile phone.
They recounted how the officers, who could not be immediately identified, stopped tricycles and brutalised residents, particularly young men.
A day after the incident, a team from the military, led by the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Thomas Oppong Peprah, visited the area and offered an apology to the people of Wa.
Aside from the disciplinary action from the military, the Defence and Interior Committee of Parliament has also been directed to probe the incident after a request by the Minority side in Parliament.
The Committee will embark on a fact-finding mission to Wa and report to the House.