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Politics of Saturday, 29 February 2020

Source: GNA

Vice President marks 28 February incident with veterans

Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Friday laid a wreath on behalf of government and Ghanaians to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the February 28 Christianborg crossroads shooting incident held at the Nationalism Park at Osu, Accra.

The event that occasioned Ghana’s struggle for independence, is commemorated annually of the killing of three ex-servicemen- Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey, during a peaceful march to the Christiansborg Castle on February 28, 1948.

Major-General Obed Boamah Akwa, the Chief of Defence Staff, laid a wreath on behalf of security services, while Retired Major General Clayton Yaache, National Chairman of the Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) laid on behalf of departed veterans.

Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona, the Osu Mantse laid on behalf of traditional authorities and Nii Kai Omashie I a representative of Sargent Adjetey’s family, laid on behalf of the fallen soldiers.

Other dignitaries at the ceremony include Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of Interior, government officials, security personnel, traditional leaders, veterans, the clergy, students and pupils from selected basic schools.

Recounting the history of the 28th February Christiansborg Crossroads shooting incident, Ex-WO1 Robert Nicholas Kuma, Greater Accra Chairman, VAG stated that, the event was to honour the defenceless Ex-servicemen, who in 1947, were killed by the colonial Police while marching peacefully to the Osu Castle to present a petition to the then Governor.

He said during Second World War, soldiers of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Forces fought alongside their allied forces and at the end of the war there was increased agitation by anti-colonial movements for independence for the colonies in South East Asia and Africa.

Ex-WO1 Kuma said the war veterans, who had fought so gallantly and received high commendation, were demobilized at the end of the war and paid a pittance by way of gratuity of about one shilling a day, adding that, the ex-servicemen were naturally not happy with the gratuity.

As a result, the veterans thought the British Government, which ruled the Gold Coast, now Ghana, would in appreciation of their sacrifices made, pay them the right amount of gratuity, adding that, several appeals made by the soldiers to the authorities fell on deaf ears.

He said after a period of waiting for a reasonable war benefits to be paid, which were not forthcoming, the ex-servicemen decided to directly approach the British Governor and Commander-In-Chief of the Gold Coast Regiment, Sir Gerald Creasy.

Ex-WO1 Kuma said on Saturday, 28th February, 1948, before noon, a number of unarmed ex-servicemen were on a march from Accra to the Christiansborg Castle to present a petition to the Governor and the Commander-In-Chief when they were intercepted at the Christiansborg Crossroads by a contingent of armed Policemen led by a British Superintendent, Mr Imray.

“Mr Imray ordered the ex-servicemen to disperse, when his orders were disobeyed, he gave another order to the Police to open fire. When this second order was not complied with, Mr Imray fired at the ex-servicemen, killing Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Atitpoe and Private Odartey Lamptey instantly,” he said.

He said the news of the death of the ex-servicemen spread rapidly, leading to a situation where law and order broke down in Accra and other parts of the country.

This encouraged anti-colonial movements to press the British government to institute a committee to investigate the killings and the general disorder.

The committee recommended self-government for the Gold Coast which subsequently led to the attainment of political independence for the country.

In a grief-stricken mood, a roll call of the veterans was announced, followed by the sounding of the last post, after which a minute silence was observed for the fallen soldiers as well as the observance of the reveille.

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