Chiefs of Kpenoe Traditional Area, one of the set-ups of Asogli State in the Ho Municipality of the Volta Region have demanded the immediate relocation of the military base of the 66 Artillery Regiment (Volta Barracks) over fears for citizens’ lives.
The chiefs said they feared that the continuous presence of the military base on their land would put the lives of people in the community at risk judging from how the military officers operate in the area.
At a press conference organised on Tuesday morning, Paramount Chief of the area, Togbe Kotoku XI appealed to the government to pay heed to their demand to forestall any unfortunate happenings in future.
Togbe Kotoku who decried operations of soldiers in the traditional area said, “we experience bullets flying into the community” without any information and “this is relatively unsafe for us and we feel our lives are not safe.”
“These very bullets were handpicked from the community. We handpicked them. This is not a bullet of single barrel but a bullet coming from the military range and the military. Our lives are not safe and for that matter, we’re requesting that the shooting range be relocated,” Togbe said while showing bullets to the cameras.
The chiefs also accused the military of extending the boundaries of the 483.34-acre of land (formerly used for cocoa, coffee and timber cultivation) the area had given to government (with no proper compensation) some 50 years ago, to a little over 1,000 acres by erecting boundary poles without any further discussions with the chiefs and people of the area.
This they said had deprived the citizens especially the youth of farmland and “this forced the people to go in there to crack stone in the process of getting a livelihood” but the military had started meeting that with brutalities.
Togbe Kotoku who supported his claims with photographs of supposed victims of military brutalities said he directed for complaints to be lodged with the police and who later referred them to the military but nothing has since been done.
One citizen named Rev. Elikplim Atidigah who was mentioned as victim of military brutalities showed a medical form he obtained from the 37 Military Hospital in Accra last month following an alleged assault on him.
According to Rev. Atidigah, he went to his farm but the soldiers claiming ownership of the area, accosted him and beat him up severely leaving scars on him.