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Major Derek Oduro (rtd), Deputy Minister of Defence nominee, has criticised the military officers involved in the brutalities meted out to a freelance photojournalist during the 6th March independence parade.
According to Kendrick Ofei Ansah, the photojournalist, four soldiers ordered him to follow them to the Osu Castle barracks after he attempted to video them assaulting a civilian at the beach behind the Black Star Square.
He alleged that the soldiers ordered him to crash his iPhone with a stone, after which about 10 of them pounced on him while others looked on at the Castle barracks.
Major Oduro was reported to have justified the attacks on Mr Ofei in an interview with Accra-based Starr FM, though he has strongly denied it.
“There are some areas and zones where pictures are not supposed to be taken. If the person was assaulted, it was wrong, it is wrong but something might have prompted the action. At times, we blow issues out of proportion," adding: “Many are concocting stories and we will need to investigate them. How can Kendrick be alive if he was beaten for 40 minutes? The victim has a mouth to talk. I do not think he was beaten for 40 minutes,” he said.
But speaking to Class News’ parliamentary correspondent Ekow Annan on Wednesday 22 March Major Oduro condemned the alleged brutalities, insisting that at no point did he seek to rationalise the conduct of the soldiers. He also promised to get to the bottom of the case when given the nod as deputy minister.
“My position on that issue was that we have been hearing military brutalities, then they hide behind the military as an institution and then the culprits are left unpunished. We should now isolate the culprits, deal with them, punish them to serve as deterrent to others so that these repetitions of military brutalities, we will not hear them again,” he stated, adding: “We have only one armed forces and we have to protect the image of Ghana armed forces. Whether police or any security institution, if we destroy them then we’ll have no security again. I will go always to defend the military as an institution and not individuals who will go and perpetrate some wrongful action against innocent civilians. No, I condemn that in no uncertain terms.”