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General News of Friday, 29 January 2021


How Rawlings escaped coup attempt in a car booth – Bulgarian Consul reveals

Former President Rawlings escaped a coup and attempt on his life in 1989 play videoFormer President Rawlings escaped a coup and attempt on his life in 1989

Very little is known about the unique relationship fostered between Bulgaria and the late former President Jerry John Rawlings.

Bulgarian Consul to Ghana, His Excellency Nicolaas C.M van Staalduinen disclosed to GhanaWeb in an exclusive interview that, the former President was rescued by the embassy in 1989 when some officers attempted to overthrow him in a coup.

He intimated that Mr Rawlings was hidden in the booth of the diplomatic vehicle of the then Ambassador of Bulgaria to Ghana.

Whisked away to safety at the Embassy of Bulgaria at Cantonments in Accra, Mr Staalduinen noted that the car was chauffeured by a Ghanaian driver whom he only identified as Joseph.

Although he could not confirm if former President Rawlings was given asylum at the embassy, he intimated that, due to the relationship between the ambassador and the military leader, the former was given a room and access to the location as and when he pleased.

“The ambassador at that time… was a staunch supporter of communist party in Bulgaria and liked Ghana because of socialism and the propaganda of Mr Rawlings as a socialist. So, he was allowed to stay in the embassy.

“…I know there were instructions that Rawlings was allowed to go in and out as he pleased from the Bulgarian embassy. So, he enjoyed the company of the ambassador…” Mr Staalduinen added.

In September 1989 Major Courage E.K. Quarshigah, Flight-Lieutenant William Kofie Domie, Squadron Leader Edward Yehoenu Akakpo, Major W.M. Binka, Captain J.S. Atengdem, Lieutenant D.K. Ameko, Kwabena Donkor, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulai Yusuf were picked up by the Bureau of National Investigations, now NIB for their involvement in the coup against Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.

Eulogising Ghana’s first president of the 4th Republic, the Bulgarian Consul also noted that Ghana became a household name in Bulgaria because of former President Rawlings.

Watch the tribute of Bulgarian Consul to Ghana on former President Jerry John Rawlings: