Former Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah has condemned the deployment of soldiers to disperse demonstrators at Ejura on Tuesday, June 29 that led to the shooting to death of two persons.

Residents of the Ashanti region town were protesting after the burial of social media activist Ibrahim Kaaka Mohammed when they clashed with a joint police and military team.

He died after being ambushed and assaulted by a mob near his home while returning from town on his motorbike.

Irate residents faced off with security personnel who tried to stop them from protesting, and soldiers fired live bullets into the crowd leading to the death of two of them and the injury of four others.

Reacting to the widely condemned incident on Class91.3FM’s morning show on Wednesday, 30 June, Nunoo-Mensah said it was a bad idea to have deployed soldiers to such an occasion.

“A soldier’s job is not to disperse crowd. I’ve never learnt how to disperse a crowd. It’s not my job.

“They [soldiers] are paid to shoot – not in the air – but at the chest, where it’s mostly going to cause death,” the retired senior army officer said as quoted by Classfmonline.com.

According to him, tasking soldiers to handle crowd control always has dire consequences.

“So, you don’t use them just like that. When the military comes, it’s not a joke, it’s a serious business.

“Unfortunately, since the coming into force of the fourth republican Constitution, we have messed up all our institutions.

“It’s going to get worse because we are not applying the right force at the right place”.

“When you get a problem in Ejura, you don’t call soldiers but we’ve [been calling] them since the fourth Republican Constitution came into force,” he lamented.

Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah bemoaned how lessons from the Emile Short Commission’s recommendations after the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence could have averted the Ejura incident.

“The Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, [for example], causing a mess and when a public commission sits, a man of his stature as Emile Short and Prof Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, [both] speak and then you throw them away.

“What are you telling me? That’s when we learn lessons and not repeat the mistakes of the past. We are all learning. So, the situation in Ghana is worsening. It’s worsening so rapidly that if we don’t take care, we are going to have a problem on our hands”, he cautioned.

He expressed skepticism about the possibility of anyone being held accountable for the fatal Ejura incident.

“You talk about the Emile Short Commission; what happened? Nothing happened.

“It made wonderful recommendations but nothing happened. I don’t believe anything will happen. And it is sad”.

Source: Pulse Ghana

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