Goka Declared AWOL

Private Modzaka Eric (L) and Cpl. Yaw AppiahMAJOR SAMUEL Owusu, the acting Commander, Rear Infantry Battalion of the Ghana Armed Forces, yesterday told Justice Senyo Dzamefe, the Accra Fast Track High Court presiding over the trial of three soldiers suspected to have murdered Alhaji

Issah Mobilla, the former Northern Regional Convention People’s Party (CPP) Chairman, that Cpl Seth Goka had been declared Absent Without Leave (AWOL).

Explaining circumstances behind the disappearance of Goka, he said the accused persons; Cpl Yaw Appiah and Modzata Eric were brought from Tamale Kamina Barracks to Michel Camp in 2006. But after sometime, with no holding charges against them, they were released and made to go on normal assignments.

He said in March there was a joint operation between the military and Police to stem armed robbery called Operation Calm Life, of which Goka was part.

According to him, Goka was on duty on March 16, but that was the last time he was seen as he did not report for duty on March 18 after he was off duty on March 17. He was declared AWOL on March 19 and has not been seen since.

The Commander said an enquiry has been set up to investigate the case, and the report will be out by the end of the year.

The Commander came to court on the orders of the trial judge who said the commanding officer in charge of the cells where the soldiers were kept should appear and explain why Goka was not available for the trial.

The trial judge has therefore asked that the Commander assist the court by bringing a diary of action to show when the soldiers first arrived and their duties, to which the commander said there was nothing like that available. He however said he would check to find out. The case has been adjourned to December 9, 2009.

The plea of the accused soldiers have still been not taken, neither were the charges against them read. The facts of the case were however read by the Acting Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms. Gertrude Aikins.

Ms. Aikins, who narrated events leading to the arrest of the accused persons, stated that the deceased Issah Mobilla was the chairman of the CPP. He was also a transport owner who had a fleet of buses and lived in Tamale.

She said in December 2004, Mobilla was arrested, stripped naked and detained by the police in connection with the supply of guns to help foment trouble in the area.

According to her, he was later transferred on the orders of the Northern Regional Security Council to the Military Barracks in Kamina after there was a tip-off that his supporters, mostly boys, were said to have been mobilising to raid the police station to free him.

The DPP noted that at the barracks the accused persons who were in charge of Mobilla searched, undressed and locked up him up. She said he died three hours later.

She stated that a friend of Mobilla said he had a chat with the deceased, who was hale and hearty three hours earlier in the day. He even said the deceased was contemplating buying another vehicle.

She said investigations revealed that at about 8 pm he screamed from his cells that he was thirsty. He was given water, but he was feeling unwell and died on the way to the hospital.

Ms. Aikins said when they got to the Military Hospital the former CPP Chairman was said to have been cold, as he died before he was brought to the hospital.

By Fidelia Achama