Ex-senior military officer goes bonkers over Dome Faase fracas Leave Out Soldiers From ‘Monkey Duties’ ; But Apedwahene calls for committee to probe disturbance
A retired senior military officer, who does not want to be named, has called on the leadership of the Ghana Armed Forces to leave out the revered military from what he describes as ‘Monkey Duties’.
Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle over the recent skirmishes at Dome Faase, which led to the invasion of the village by soldiers, the army officer, who is also an expert in conflict management, said no one should dare make any attempt to justify what happened in the village.
According to him, the political commentators, including ministers, trying to window dress and justify the presence of the military on the disputed land should not be offered oxygen to survive. The ex-military officer was equally at a loss as to who is telling the truth, when reports coming from the top suggested that the soldiers were there as part of Operation Calm Life.
To him, that excuse must not be justified, because Operation Calm Life is a joint police/military performing task, which, in most of the cases, is led by the police, but the latter, in this case, was left out.
According to him, this alone tells the whole world that the armed soldiers might rather be there in someone’s personal interest, and not that of the state. “Who did the armed soldiers go to protect in the name of Operation Calm Life?” he asked.
The former senior military officer further told The Chronicle that such duties are not good, since they promote low morale among the troops, who come from diverse backgrounds, especially tribes.
He, therefore, entreated the powers that be to insulate members of the security services, especially the military and police, from humiliation by not sanctioning such ‘monkey duties’.
Meanwhile, the Apedwahene, Osabarima Asante Frimpong, is suggesting to the government to establish a committee to look into last week’s disturbances at Dome Faase, in the Ga South Municipality of the Greater Accra Region, to find a lasting solution to the conflict.
Four persons, including two soldiers, sustained various degrees of injury, and properties worth millions of cedis destroyed.
The clash, which was between a group under the leadership of the Mponuahene of Akyem Apedwa, Nana Sarpong Kumankuma, a section of soldiers drawn from Burma Camp and a crowd from the outlying villages and hamlets within the Obom Domeabra catchment area, resulted in heavy military deployment to the ground.
The purpose of the troop’s deployment by air and land was to primarily search and retrieve two assault rifles which were seized from the wounded soldiers by the mob.
The objective of the operation was met, but not without the attendant massive arrests that saw the affected communities turning into ghost towns.
Speaking to The Chronicle from his base in Virginia, United States of America (USA), on Saturday, Osabarima Asante Frimpong said the committee he is proposing should have representations from both factions, and the scope of reference must include the acquisition of the disputed land.
This, the Apedwahene went on, include by conquest, gift, purchase or resettlement after the construction of the Weija Dam to the west of Accra on the 116 kilometres long River Densu flowing from the Atiwa Range.
All these, he continued, must be supported with documents to prevent that enclave from being turned into a conflict zone.
However, a member of the Ga Adangme Council, Mr Bright Akwetey, comes with a condition.
When contacted by this reporter on phone, Mr Akwetey, though welcomes the idea of a committee to look into the matter, is demanding first an apology from the aggressor, the Mponuahene of Akyem Apedwa, Nana Sarpong Kumankuma, to the people of Dome Faase in particular, and Gas in general.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashietey, on Friday, led a delegation made up of the Mayor of Accra, Ga South Chief Executive, and representatives of the Sempe Division of the Ga Traditional Council among others, to tour some of the affected communities.
Attempts to reach the Regional Minister to know the government’s position on the overtures from the Apedwahene were not successful.
However, there are indications to suggest that the incident has embarrassed quite a lot of people, and that everything is being done to have the problem solved before it escalates into both regional and traditional boundary disputes between the Eastern Region, with Akyems, and Greater Accra, also with Gas.
Press conference at Apedwa
In another development, Isaac Akwetey reports that the Akyem Apedwa Mponuahene, Baffour Sarpong Kumankuma I, has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to immediately arrest the Member of Parliament (MP) for Domeabra Obom, Ackuaku Sophia Karen, over the mayhem that greeted Dome-Faase last week Tuesday.
According to him, the mayhem that greeted the area that fateful day was through a deliberate and well calculated organisation of the MP for the area, hence, the need for the police to arrest her for interrogation.
He and other chiefs are also demanding full payment of properties worth millions of cedis which were destroyed and taken away, as well as the retrieval of three pump-action guns taken away from the soldiers by the MP and her gangsters.
Addressing a press conference at his palace on Friday, Baffour Sarpong Kumankuma I explained that Akyem Apedwa holds vast lands, from Apedwa, across numerous towns and villages, with the Densu River serving as a boundary.
According to the Mponuahene, his area shares a traditional boundary with the Gas, Akwamus and parts of Akuapem, in trust or as caretakers, and report directly to the Overlord of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin.
He indicated that about a month ago, they noticed that some people from the Greater Accra Region had crossed the Densu River, which is a boundary between the Akyems and the Gas, winning sand, gravel and selling parts of the land to developers.
Upon this, a high profile team went to the areas, namely Afumkrom, Fankyeneko, Dome-Faase, Asante-Kwahu and Kofi Kwei among others, to organise the leaders there and inform them about their presence as custodians of the traditional area.
Baffour Kumankuma I stressed that the leaders within the aforementioned villages, including assembly members, opinion leaders, and unit committee members welcomed the team and admitted that the lands, indeed, belong to the Akyems.
The Akyem Apedwa Mponuahene mentioned that they started to reclaim a section of the land, which some unknown sand winning contractors had degraded without any problem, until Tuesday August 25, 2020, at about 12 noon, when they spotted some vehicles coming to where they were working.
“The occupants of the vehicle were the MP, who was in smock with red calico, and some media practitioners, and requested to see me (Mponuahene), but before a seat would be given to the MP, we saw a large crowd of youth advancing towards the meeting place.
“At this point, upon sensing danger, I asked Operation Clam Life to stop the crowd by giving warning shots, but before one could say Jack, the MP had signalled her followers into action, as they started throwing stones at my men.
“In the process, some of the team from Apedwa and Operation Calm Life sustained various degrees of cutlass wounds, as well as setting four vehicles, a motorbike and generator ablaze, breaking a car windscreen, and taking away mobile phones.”
The Akyem Apedwa Mponuahene stated that the land in dispute is geographically in the Eastern Region under the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area, with the Densu River as boundary, and, therefore, challenged anybody who has authentic documents to come forward with it.