‘Dismissed soldiers aren’t ready to defend the state’



General News of Monday, 28 December 2015

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Army RecruitsFile photo

The about 500 military recruits dismissed en bloc for alleged mutiny, exhibited signs of soldiers who were not ready to defend Ghana, Colonel Dr Emmanuel Kotia has indicated.

The chief instructor at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre noted that the recruits were not prepared to go through tough training to enable them live up to their own oath of defending the state by air, sea and land at any time.

Col (Dr) Kotia was speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday hosted by Alhassan Suhuyini of Radio Gold fame.

According to a military statement, the 500 were sent packing home last week for putting up “insubordinate behaviours”. They had staged an “unauthorized assembly” on December 3, complaining bitterly about a “strenuous” training they were being subjected to, which to them amounted to “maltreatment”.

“The implications of the recruits’ behaviour are far-reaching and inimical to the security of the State,” the statement by Colonel E. Aggrey-Quashie Director Public Relations said.

Dr. Kotia told the Super Morning Show sit-in host that every soldier in the Ghana Armed Forces went through the same strenuous training which made them formidable forces to reckon with.

“We all have been trained in that rigorous condition, without being trained in that rigorous condition we can’t defend the state; and remember we have taken an oath to defend the state by air, sea and land, and that is how you can get a secured nation with soldiers who are ready to defend the state at any time,” he stressed.

Recounting his experiences on peacekeeping which he chronicled in a book; ‘Ghana Armed Forces in Liberia and Lebanon Peace Operations’, Col. Kotia said the behaviour of the recruits is akin to one of the triggers of the Liberian conflict.

He pointed out that during William Tolbert administration as the president of Liberia, he recruited persons who were not properly trained to replace aged and retiring officers.

“Out of these untrained and uneducated recruits emerged the organizers of the 1980 coup that eventually led Liberia into the conflict,” the defence and security expert recalled.

He likened it to what happened with the recruits at Shai Hills, “Now this is a situation that can be created if we allow our recruits not to be properly trained. The effort was being made for the recruits to be properly trained but they were probably opposing the methods…”

He is sure the military hierarchy thought through carefully before taking the decision to dismiss the soldiers.

“One thing we must be cautious about military institution is that military institution won’t take any decision just out of the blue, they definitely might have investigated [and action is] in the best interest of the nation.”

Meanwhile, a retired officer of the Ghana Armed Forces, Captain Budu Koomson, has called for an in-depth investigation into circumstances that led to the dismissal of the about 500 recruits.

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