The Member of Parliament (MP) for the La Dade-Kotopon constituency, Ms Rita Odoley Sowah, has condemned the assault of members of the Coalition of La Associations (COLA) and some Journalists by personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) during a demonstration to protest the encroachment of La stool lands by the military.
The MP who also called the government to, as a matter of urgency, bring finality to the land dispute between COLA and the GAF, said there should be a dialogue between the two parties.
“As MP for the area, I condemn the force that was used by the military. I believe their mandate is to protect and not to harm us,” she said.
“The attack and assault, does not augur well for us as a nation,” she added.
“If we are cohabitating with the military, I believe there should be some dialogue and consensus on the land dispute,” Ms Odoley Sowah said.
While condemning the incident, she urged the government to resolve the matter immediately.
She further appealed for calm and an amicable resolution of the dispute between the people of La and the Ghana Armed Forces.
“We are peaceful people and so if we sit down and dialogue, I believe there will be peace”, she added.
The GAF has in a statement apologised to journalists and some other civilians who were injured when it quelled the protest on Thursday (April 15, 2021) at La in Accra.
The GAF in a press release said it had to apply reasonable force to remove the protesters who were demonstrating in an area that houses military installations.
The release disclosed that the Military High Command has commenced investigations into the “unfortunate incident”.
“The facts of the matter are that in the morning of Thursday 15 April 2021, GAF received intelligence that some civilians were demonstrating and moving towards Burma Camp,” the release said.
“A reconnaissance team was dispatched to confirm the report but they could not determine the intentions of the demonstrators. On seeing the soldiers, the demonstrators who had no police permit to demonstrate became violent. The reconnaissance team called for reinforcement which came to stop the violent youth from causing any damage to military installations. It is worthy to note that the general area where the demonstration was taking place, houses vital military installations of national security nature. The implications of any destruction in the area cannot be overemphasized.
“In order to restrain the demonstrators, reasonable force had to be applied to remove them. Thus, in the process some of the demonstrators/persons got injured. It later came to light that some of the injured persons were journalists who were there to cover the event”.
Soldiers on Thursday, April 15, 2021, got into a scuffle with demonstrators protesting over the alleged encroachment of La Stool Lands by the military.
The group had defied orders of the police to suspend their intended demonstration.
Members of the Coalition of La Association together with some Journalists covering the demonstration were assaulted in the process.
The land in contention is between Tse Addo and Airport Hills, around the Military Cemetery.