The Coalition of La Associations (COLA) has appealed to Parliament to set a bi-partisan committee to investigate attacks on some of its members and journalists by some officials of the Ghana Armed Forces last week.
A group of La youth who were protesting over the alleged encroachment of La Stool lands by the military were beaten up by soldiers last Thursday. Some journalists who were covering the protest were manhandled, heightening anger among the youth in the area.
The military high command has explained that the altercation was because the group had become violent but the spokesperson for COLA, Jefferey Adokwei Tetteh, has denied the claim saying their demonstration was without violent tendencies.
Speaking on Morning Update on TV XYZ, Tetteh said they were unarmed and did not see the need for the Ghana Armed Forces to unleash a reconnaissance team on them. He also said the manhandling of protestors and journalists was premeditated and that the military has been insincere in its account of the development; the more reason they are calling on Parliament to intervene.
“One thing we are asking for is for Parliament to institute a bi-partisan probe into this issue because you cannot have military mete out this brutality on innocent unarmed civilians and everybody will sit down [and look on],” Tetteh said.
Rejecting the miltary’s account, Tetteh said “We need a probe into this. We don’t want the military to investigate anything; we, want Parliament to do so.”
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for La Dade-Kotopon, Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, has condemned the brutalities on the protesters and journalists.
“As MP for the area, I condemn the force that was used by the military against the people of La. I believe the military is to protect, not to harm us. So if we are cohabitating with the military, I believe there should be some dialogue and consensus on the land dispute. The residents and some journalists have been assaulted, and I don’t think this augurs well for us as a nation” she said.
Madam Sowah further asked the government to, as a matter of urgency, bring finality to the land dispute between members of the Coalition of La Associations (COLA) and the Ghana Armed Forces.
“I am calling on the government, the Ministries of Defence and Lands and the Lands Commission to come together for an amicable solution 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.