General News of Wednesday, 8 November 2000

Source: GNA

Rawlings's bodyguards buried

The four bodyguards of President Jerry Rawlings who died in an accident on the motorway were on Tuesday given an emotional farewell when they were buried at the Military Cemetery at Osu.

President Rawlings looked forlorn, his wife Nana Konadu kept wiping tears with a handkerchief and Vice-President John Atta Mills and his wife Naadu gazed with blood-shot eyes as the four bodyguards were laid to rest.

At the burial were the parents, wives and relatives of the dead soldiers who wailed as their simple wooden flag-draped coffins were lowered into their graves to commence their eternal rest.

Corporal Kwame Boateng, Corporal Kwabena Aboagye, L/Cpl Kweku Ewun-Tohma and L/Cpl Martin Kumashie perished in an accident on the Accra/Tema motorway while escorting the President to Akosombo on October 29.

Their remains were brought to the cemetery on top of gun carriages from a burial service at Burma Camp attended by ministers, parliamentarians, top brass of the Armed Forces and people from all walks of life.

A few meters from the gate of the cemetery, their colleagues from the 64 Infantry Regiment lifted the coffins from the gun carriages and stepping slowly to music played by the Armed Forces Central Band, carried them to their final resting place.

Among wreaths that were laid were those by President Rawlings for the government and people of Ghana, Lt-Col E.K.T. Donkor (rtd) Minister of Defence and Lt-Gen. Ben Akafia, Chief of Defence Staff.

Other wreaths were laid by Maj-Gen. Joseph Smith, Army Commander, Mr Ato Dadzie, Chief of Staff Office of the President and Lt-Col. Gbevlo Lartey Commanding Officer of the 64 Infantry Regiment.

When the officiating priest intoned "dust thou art and unto dust shall thou return," Cpl. Aboagye's mother screamed as soldiers fired volleys of shots in honour of their departed colleagues.

There was more wailing when L/Cpl Ewun-Tohma's body was removed from the coffin, to conform with Moslem tradition, and lowered into the grave.

After two buglers sounded the last post, mourners silently left the cemetery, some with their heads bowed and others wiping tears.

Cpl. Boateng has left behind three children and L/Cpl Kumeshie's wife is seven months pregnant. Cpl. Aboagye and L/Cpl. Ewun-Tohma were not married.