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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 21 May 2015

Source: Daily Guide

Soldiers on rampage at Tamale Airport

There was pandemonium at the Tamale airport on Tuesday afternoon when about 20 heavily built soldiers from the air force base descended on personnel of Aviation Security (AVSEC) and beat them to a pulp for reasons yet to be uncovered.

Air travellers who were checking in and waiting for the arrival of their respective flights had to abandon the process and flee the passenger lounge for fear they could become targets for the angry soldiers who vented their spleen on anyone on sight.

The conduct of the rampaging soldiers delayed operations at the airport for close to 30 minutes but calm was finally restored.

According to snippets of information gathered by DAILY GUIDE, one Flying Officer Tetteh Amponsah was at the airport on Monday to check in his girlfriend who was to board the last evening Starbow flight to Accra.

After successfully going through the formalities, he was asked to wait at the passenger lounge until an announcement was made for screening of all passengers, to which he obliged.

When the time came, he was signalled by the AVSEC officials to go through the screening process but he ignored them and kept chatting with a friend, prompting a senior officer to ask whether he was the one travelling or someone else.

It later turned out that Flying Officer Amponsah was not the one actually boarding the plane but his fiancée, who had gone through the process and was waiting to board the flight.

The soldier then tried forcing his way through the archway into the restricted area reserved for screened passengers to enable him continue chatting with the said girlfriend till her departure.

However, AVSEC officials reportedly restrained him, resulting in heated confrontations between them until a superior AVSEC officer was called in to restore calm. The senior AVSEC official then walked the soldier into his office where he explained the regulations governing movement in the area to him.

Flying Officer Amponsah, it was gathered, left the airport but returned the following morning in the company of Corporal Swat, Corporal Aboah and Flying Officer Mensah, all soldiers at the air force base, to effect the arrest of the AVSEC official without a warrant.

When they were met with fierce resistance, they called in more men, numbering 15, resulting in a free for all fight. They beat any AVSEC official on sight and later succeeded in arresting one Richard Azayam after subjecting him to severe beatings.

He was handcuffed, taken away and later thrown into the guardroom of the air force base without charge but was later released on the orders of the commanders of the regiment.

DAILY GUIDE has reliably been informed that the conduct of the soldiers, who were acting out of duty, has been referred to the Military Police who are expected to arrest them and subsequently punish them for their actions.

Meanwhile, the matter has been reported to the Managing Director of the Ghana Airport Company.