The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has apologised to some journalists and youth of La, who were brutalised by some soldiers on Thursday, 15 April 2021 during a demonstration over a stretch of land within the Burma Camp enclave.
“In order to restrain the demonstrators, reasonable force had to be applied to remove them”, a statement issued by the army said, adding: “Thus, in the process, some of the demonstrators or persons got injured”.
“It later came to light that some of the injured persons were journalists who were there to cover the event.”
“GAF seizes this opportunity to apologise to the journalists and all innocent persons who might have been affected by the troops’ effort to clear the unruly demonstrators,” the statement signed by Col E. Aggrey-Quashie said.
The army said it has instituted investigations into the matter.
“The Military High Command has directed that the case be investigated to ensure that such an unfortunate incident does not occur in future”.
“We, once again, call on all Ghanaians to follow due process in all their actions with GAF to avoid such unfortunate situations,” it added.
The youth of La vowed on Thursday to sacrifice their last drop of blood to repossess their lands from the military following an assault of some locals and journalists by soldiers as they went to inspect the 250-acre property at Gbletso near the Burma Camp.
The spokesperson of the youth, Mr Jeffrey Tetteh, told journalists: “We have realised that against all warnings, the military is still developing the place”.
“Now, like we’ve told you in previous meetings, on 27 November 2020, the government released those lands to the people of La. The military has vowed vehemently to resist the people of La and make sure we don’t get onto our land.
“We are beginning to realise a trend that the government is using the security to intimidate the people of La to ensure that their cronies that the land.
“They are suppressing us in an era of democracy and we, the people, will resist kind of suppression”, he said, adding: “We are going to resist with the last drop of blood in us if they so wish and they think they can spill blood because of this land, we are willing and so be it because our forefathers laid down their lives and shed their blood to regain this land for us”.
“It is our time to also make sure that we also gain the land and bequeath it to those generations after us. We are not going to be intimidated by the use of security personnel. We are not going to be intimidated by the forces of the military. We are not afraid of their artillery and whatever they do, we shall still march onto the land today and possess it”, he noted.
Meanwhile, the MP for the area, Rita Odolley Sowah, has condemned the military brutality and called on the authorities that be to resolve the impasse.
“The people of La went on the Gbletso land, that is the Burma Camp area to inspect their land and as they went there, the confrontation was between the people of La and the military, not the police.
“The military deployed their officers there and there were gunshots and there is an exhibit of a live bullet that we have and then they beat the people very well, which I don’t think augurs well for the development of the country because if people have gone onto their land that the government has released to them.
“I don’t think there was a course for the military to attack them and these are civilians” and, so, “for them to even attack civilians on the field, I think they have to be called to order and then the situation has to be addressed because when you come to La, they beat men and women, they beat the media people who were there and it is not good for us and, so, I pray that the government will come in quickly; the ministers of land, defence and the regional minister will all come together to make sure that we sit with the traditional authorities and the people of La for an amicable solution to this problem. It has lingered on for far too long”.
On Tuesday, 16 March 2021, the indigenes of La in the Greater Accra Region, invoked 99 deities to punish any individual who encroaches or puts up any structure on the yet-to-be-delineated 275-acre land at Tse-Addo in the La Dade Kotopon municipality.
A consensus was reached by a tripartite committee set up in December 2020 under the auspices of the Chief of Staff to retrieve 225 acres of the land for the traditional council while a buffer is created along the military cemetery enclave around the headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces at Burma Camp with the remaining 50 acres.
This, the committee believed, would lay the protracted land dispute to rest.
However, even before the directives from Jubilee House were enforced, some truckloads of building materials were conveyed to the embargoed area with some unknown developers clearing the area for unknown reasons.
This situation forced the youth of La onto the streets in protest to the failure of the government to order the military to halt its encroachment pending final demarcation of the disputed area.