Soldiers threaten to shoot officers of STMA demolition taskforce

Seven armed soldiers from the air force base in Takoradi last Thursday threatened to shoot officers of the works department of the STMA who attempted to demolish an unauthorized structure by the Takoradi beach.

Joy news checks indicate that the structure is located within a buffer zone along the beachfront and the physical planning unit of the assembly therefore recommended the demolition of the structure after the owners had defied several warning by the assembly to stop work.

However, when the taskforce got to the location to start the demolishing, the owner of Allam Beach, Betty Agboga, who is also a cook at the airforce base in Takoradi called in soldiers armed with G3 assault rifles and ordered the police and the Sekondi/Takoradi Municipal Assembly (STMA) officers to stop the demolishing or be shot.

According to eyewitnesses the owner of the Island Beach, Betty, pulled a pistol and threatened to shoot one Mawuli, a member of the STMA taskforce when he questioned the authority of the soldiers and rather asked them to return with “their big guns to the barracks”

“But for the timely intervention of the presiding member of the STMA, Mohammed Mahmoud Ali who ordered the taskforce to stop the demolition, some members of the taskforce could have been shot” the eyewitness said.

When joy news contacted the STMA, the presiding member, Mr Mahmoud said the airforce claims that sections of the beachfront belongs to the military who have given it to a cook to operate a pub.

He said even if the area in question is for the airforce, the operators of the pub would still require a building permit from the assembly.

Mr Mahmoud said the soldiers, after forcing the STMA officials out of the area threatened to march to the assembly to deal with whoever ordered the demolition.

He described as distasteful and unprofessional, the conduct of the soldiers who pursued Mawuli to his house to “teach him a lesson” but fortunately he wasn’t home.

According to Mr. Mahmoud Ali, the Deputy Western Regional Minister Alfred Ekow Gyan has been informed about the incident.

Further checks indicate that the deputy regional minister called the 2nd in command at the airforce base in Takoradi to order the men to stand down and allow the STMA officials to carry out their legitimate assignment.

However, Joy news can confirm that two armed soldiers have been stationed on a 24 hour guard at the private facility.

Sources at the Ghana Tourism Board also indicated that the operators of the Island beach do not have a permit to operate such a facility. This is besides the fact that the beach pub has no toilet or washrooms.

This is not the first time Soldiers from the Airforce base in Takoradi are having a disagreement with the STMA over land.

Barely two months ago, armed soldiers stopped the STMA from pulling down the walls of a garage near Jubilee Park in Takoradi because the base leased out the parcel of land to the owner of the garage. The taskforce had to remobilize and demolish the walls at dawn when the soldiers went back to the barracks.

Officials of the STMA have said that if they fail to pull down the unauthorized structure at Allam beach, they would have no moral justification to demolish such unauthorized structures owned by civilians in the Metropolis.

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