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General News of Friday, 10 August 2012

Source: GNA

Late President Mills on state drive

The late President John Atta Mills, who was the Commander-in -Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), was on Friday buried with full military honors at the Geese Park, now called Asomdwe (Peace) Park, adjacent to the Independence Square in Accra.

He was buried after a two-hour funeral service at the Independence Square attended by at least a dozen presidents and delegations from various parts of the world.

The dark casket was lowered into the tiled grave at 1515 hours.

The Most Rev. Emmanuel Asante, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, performed the committal. Two minutes' silences were observed for the late President.

The Right Reverend Francis Amenu, Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana, then said the final prayer and benediction at 1600 hours.

President John Dramani Mahama, Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, former First Lady Ernestina Naadu Mills, family members, former President Jerry John Rawlings, ministers of state, politicians and thousands of people witnessed the burial.

President Mahama laid a wreath, decorated in national colors, on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana. Other wreaths were laid by Mrs. Naadu Mills, Dr. Cadman Mills on behalf of the family, Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Grant on behalf of the Council of State, David Asumeng, MP for Shai Osudoku on behalf of Parliament and Lt.-General Peter Blay, Chief of the Defence Staff on behalf of the Security Services.

Dr. Mills thanked all the doctors who tried to resuscitate the late President on July 24 when he suffered a massive stroke. He said the last words of his late brother and president that he can remember were “God I leave it all to you.”

Earlier, the Independence Square and the streets leading to the Square were soaked in a sea of red and black as mourners paid their last respects to the late president, who distinguished himself as a “King of Peace”.

President Mahama led the nation to accord his predecessor a befitting funeral.

Tens of thousands of people lined some principal streets of Accra to bid the late president farewell. They waved and wailed as the cortege passed.

A number of mourners, including a “Borborbor” traditional group, drummed, sang and marched the full distance with the cortege to the burial grounds to end a three-day-long state funeral accorded President Mills.

The Military had taken over the casket containing the body of the late Commander-in-Chief after the funeral service.

The casket of late President Mills was placed on a gun carriage with eight pallbearers of Brigadier-General rank walking by it.

Security personnel who also lined the streets in a show of respect were swallowed up by the huge crowd. The cortege was escorted by a Ghana Air Force helicopter.

At the Geese Park, the casket was taken from the gun carriage and carried by Warrant Officers of the Ghana Air Force and placed on the grave.

The Military buglers sounded the Last Post amidst the booming of a 21-gun salute by a detachment of personnel of the 66 Artillery Regiment of the GAF.

There was a fly-pass by three Ghana Air Force jets ejecting long plumes of smoke in the national colors of red, gold and green, with Ghana Navy ships also performing ceremonial manoeuvres on the shoreline behind the Independence Square.

President Mills died suddenly on July 24 at the 37 Military Hospital at the age of 68.

He lay in state at the Banquet Hall of the State House from Wednesday morning when the body was moved from the 37 Military Hospital and sent first to his private residence at the Regimanuel Gray Estate on the Spintex Road and then to the Castle, where he worked from January 7, 2009 until his death.

The political transition was completed on Monday when Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the Vice-President nominated by President John Dramani Mahama, was vetted and approved by parliament and sworn in by the Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina Wood.**