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Disgruntled soldiers soiled military’s reputation

I could neither fathom or imagine it; on Wednesday afternoon, a group of renegade soldiers in Tamale reportedly took the law into their hands and visited violence and mayhem on random  police officers for reasons steeped in arrogance, abuse of power and blatant disregard for our national laws. It was a scene out of war-torn DRC, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rampage reportedly went on for hours culminating in gunshots near the police headquarters. Fortunately, no one was shot to death. A disaster with potential serious implications was averted. Suffice to say it was a dark day for the military, the police service and residents of the Tamale metropolis.

For one highly respected national security agency to explode in anger and violence at another highly regarded national security agency in full glare of civilians, is just unthinkable and unprofessional. It should never have happened.

Instead, ignorance and false bravado took hold of a few knuckle-heads who subsequently erupted in violence.

The end product of this horrible behavior was the creation of unbridled animosity between the police service and the military. And, worse, the  city of Tamale got a black eye, its reputation stained.

No matter how serious the alleged offense against the soldier who is said to have abused his partner was, things could have been resolved amicably and behind closed doors, away from public scrutiny.

But what the public gleaned from Wednesday’s near disaster was the throwing overboard by a few disgruntled military men of professionalism only to serve selfish and short-sighted interests.

A few soldiers decided to vent their anger on police officers, but in so doing, they soiled the hard-earned reputation of the military.

Once upon a time, I thought that we as a country that prides itself as the most democratic in West Africa, if not on the entire African continent had come a long way from the days of rampant violence and non adherence to the rule of law.

But I am sadly mistaken. We are still trapped in the past. We have not changed with the advent of democracy. Rather we have regressed.

Residents of Tamale were shocked and stunned beyond belief as they watched the soldiers ransack police posts across the city.

But now that the anger and violence have subsided, it is incumbent on authorities in the northern region to do something immediately to prevent future outbursts of the horrible kind Tamale just witnessed.

The onus rests on the regional minister to firmly and decisively take some disciplinary action in conjunction with both military and police commands, against those who started this disgraceful and abhorrent behavior. Failure is not an option. Civilians are watching.


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