Wednesday, August 6, 2008


By Edmund Mingle
Monday, 07 July 2008

Some drivers of Commercial (tro-tro) vehicles and their mates have been subjected to dehumanizing methods of punishment allegedly by military guards at the 37 Military Hospital for flouting traffic regulations.
Offending drivers and their mates were allegedly detained in the hospital’s mortuary and made to arrange dead bodies or mop up water on the floor.
Investigations by the Times revealed that the practice started about three weeks ago to punish recalcitrant "trotro" drivers.
"One soldier hit my chest and forced me to arrange bodies," Paul Twum, a 20-year-old driver’s mate, told the Times.
Twum said he spent about an hour at the mortuary.
"They made me to carry a dead child on my chest as if I am carrying my child," said Kwesi Daniels, a driver who suffered the ordeal two weeks ago.
Another driver, who declined to give his name, alleged that "they made me fondle a dead woman’s breast".
When the Times visited the hospital at about 11am last Thursday, three drivers and their mates had been detained at the entrance of the hospital, while the passengers pleaded for their release.
A female Lieutenant-Colonel (name withheld) was threatening at the top of her voice to send the offending drivers into the mortuary.
"We have to teach you a lesson," she shouted
Assisted by two corporals on guard duty at the main gate of the hospital, the Lt-Col. told the pleading passengers that the drivers were being punished because they had been stopping close to the entrance of the hospital instead of going to the bus stop.
That practice, she said usually created congestion at the entrance which posed problems for the hospital, especially, when ambulances were moving in and out.
The detained "trotro" drivers were released later after the passengers questioned the justification for the release of a Metro Mass Transport driver who was guilty of the offence.
The passengers suggested that a "No Parking" sign be mounted at the entrance to warn drivers.
On Friday, when the Commander's attention was drawn to the way the soldiers were treating the offending drivers and their mates, he immediately summoned those involved and declared his intention to institute disciplinary action against the perpetrators, including a woman Lieutenant-Colonel, a number of corporals and the mortuary attendants.
The mortuary attendants, on Friday, admitted to the Commander in the presence of the Times that the drivers and their mates who were brought in batches to the mortuary by the soldiers, were given work to do, but denied forcing them to arrange corpses.
The Lt- Col. also admitted that she ordered that the offending drivers be given work to do in the mortuary on Thursday, but said she did not follow up to see the type of work they were given.

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