About two weeks ago, military men were deployed in Amenfi West to fight galamsay. In the course of their operation, a 35-year-old census officer was assaulted by the soldiers who were on a ravage mission.
The incident happened On Tuesday, June 29 2021. A census officer by the name of Patrick Asaase working at Aborekrom, Akani, Anikoko and Adwendaho encountered an unforgettable incident in his life. The People of Aborekrom-Akani live in wooden, bamboo and tent structures that are close to a “galamsey” site. As a census officer operating at Aborekrom-Akani, Mr Patrick was carrying on his normal duty as an enumerator when he was attacked.
On the said day, after enumerating the first structure around 6 pm, he was moving to the second structure when a military officer slapped him from behind.
After he was slapped from behind, he turned and told the military officer that he was a census officer. The military man rendered an apology and returned.
When the victim left the first military officer who slapped him, he met different military men on the way and they smacked him on his face. He received bootings on his buttock and waist as well.
One of the military men, perhaps the one who first slapped him shouted that he(Asaase Patrick) was a census officer, which made the two military men stop beating him.
According to the victim, he had put on a raincoat that might have contributed to the military officer’s inability to recognize him as a census officer.
The commander advised the census officer to leave the site. The census officer picked his motorbike but fell because of fear and panic that engulfed him. He fell on the exhaust pipe of his motorbike, so he had some burns on his right arm. His phone and tablet for the census were damaged.
Speaking to the victim, he said the armed men surrounded all communities and their helicopters stood at the centre of the surrounding communities. Military men paraded the whole area so it was difficult for a “galamseyer” who was seen at the site to escape. He further narrated that one seamstress who lives around was beaten mercilessly. The military men said that she has been patching the clothes of the “galamseyers” hence promoting their activities. All structures were burnt.
When asked if he could identify those who brutalised him, he said they were in masks and mufflers, so it’s difficult to identify them. “The blows I received made me hallucinate, so I was thinking about escaping rather than identifying them”, he added.
He reported the incident to his supervisor. He was taken to the Asankrangwa Catholic hospital for treatment. The doctor report showed that there was no fracture around his waist where he was stamped several times. The doctor gave him painkillers to assuage the pains that he was going through.
Regional Officers visited the site on Thursday to observe where the incident happened. They had a meeting with the Municipal Chief Executive, Hon George Agyiri concerning the matter. According to the victim, the outcome of the meeting has not been communicated to him.
Issues of military brutalities are becoming a common phenomenon in Ghana in recent times. On Tuesday, 29 June 2021, military men shot through a crowd of protesters at Ejura in Ashanti Region which led to the demise of two people. The youth were protesting following the attack on a social media activist, Ibrahim Muhammed, popularly known as Kaaka.
Another military attack incident happened in Wa on Thursday, 1 July 2021. Residents, road users and hawkers were brutalized and humiliated by military men. Some were compelled to lie and kneel in open gutters and slapped repeatedly.
The unfortunate incident that happened in Aborekrom-Akani in Amenfi West is one too many for the government to take immediate action to nip military brutalities in the bud so that it does not become ingrained.
Story by Prince Ayerakwa