The Director of the National Center for Early Warning Coordination and Response Mechanism (NCCRM) of the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel Kelvin Merdiermah, has cautioned civilians not to confront security officers on the streets, even if they provoke them. According to Col. Merddiermah, it is not good or safe for civilians to engage uniformed men, especially soldiers, in a scuffle.
He advised civilians to rather take notice of the vehicle registration number of the security men or even the name tag and report them to the top hierarchy of the army.
Col. Kelvin Merdiermah explained that sometimes understanding the code of conduct and mode of operations of the institution is what some men in uniform do not understand and are engaging in acts that are distasteful to the public.
Colonel Merdiermah was responding to a concern raised by a resident of an Agricultural Electoral Area in Tamale during the launch of an NCCE-based line study on preventing and containing violent extremism in an open forum.
The resident, who gave his name only as Neindow, drew attention to the commission and security agencies about growing anger among residents because of the behavior of some junior officers of the police and the army, who, because of the uniform and the guns, think they are Tingods and how young people are arming themselves to face them.
Mr. Neindoo, whose concerns received rousing applause, went further and suggested to the NCCE that it mount cinemas at public places such as chief palaces and Jubilee Park, showing videos and pictures of the effects of real war for the youth who have never seen it before to watch.
But Colonel Merdiermah pleaded with the youth not to arm themselves to confront the army. He stated that a civilian may have to come to the soldier’s aid for indulging in wrongdoing because the army’s laws and regulations do not have mercy for indiscipline.
Col. Merdiermah also cautioned against threats and ultimatums issued by groups against individuals, institutions, and the state, which need to be looked at.
The soldier also dismissed the widely held view that extremists only target young people, explaining that people over 60 are involved in violent extremism.
He explained that the extremists engaged what he called translators who are highly educated; some of them are professors who know the history of their target communities.
Adding her voice to the concerns, the Chairperson of NCCE, Ms. Kathleen Addy, said it is very dangerous for civilians to arm themselves against state security, explaining that if it combines with extremist activities the subregion is currently confronted with, it would exacerbate the situation.
She disclosed that the commission has begun a documentary on conflicts and will soon bring it into the public domain.