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History: The coup that almost overthrew Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.

Ghananews5
By Ghananews5 | self meida writer
Published 3 days ago - 3672 views

On November 23rd 1982, eleven months after seizing power from Liman's administration, disgrantled soldiers mostly those who played a pivotal roles in bringing Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings into power devoted against his PNDC government.

As a result a number of soldiers was disarmed, arrested and placed in various prisons across the capital Accra and Nsawam, others escaped arrest into exile in neighboring Togo.

In June 19th 1983, these group of former servicemen who escaped arrest in the wake of November 23rd attempt infiltrated into Ghana with heavy arms and ammunition and proceeded to attack the Ussher fort, James fort and Nsawam maiden security prisons to release their collaborators in previous attempt.

After the release, they fought their way into the national broadcasting studio and announced the toppling of Jerry John Rawlings and his PNDC government.

THE MUTINY.

Somewhere in 1982, there was a plot involving Sgt Alloga Akata Pure, Carlos Halidu Gyiwah, Mathew Adabuga, Seidu Musa etc including a civilian named Kwame Pianim to assassinate Jerry John Rawlings.

The plan was carried out with one air force corporal who goes by the name Boakye. This same corporal gave out their plan leading to the arrest of Mathew Adabuga.

His close associates were therefore unhappy and decided to protest against his arrest


It took the efforts of one Captain Baba Awuni, army commander Arnold Quainoo and one major Yachie to disarm the rebels.

After disarming them they were unexpectedly placed in different prisons within the capital Accra that is Ussher fort, James fort, the naval base guard room, field engineers guard room and the Nsawam prisons in the Eastern region.


THE PNDC PLAN.

After spending eight months in jail, weird got the prisoners that the PNDC government is planning to execute all the 23rd November mutineers.

THE ESCAPE PLAN.

As a result an elaborate plan was carried out to break jail. This was to be carried out first thing at the Ussher fort and then to the James fort, the field engineers guard room, naval base guard room and then to the Nsawam maiden security prisons.

All started on the Sunday the 19th of June 1983. Moslem prisoners were fasting while christian prisoners were having their church service. Their accomplices most of which have entered the country from Togo arrived at the Ussher fort and made their presence known through some of the prison officers.


THE JAIL BREAK

The initial plan was to follow the chaplain of the prison after his church service. The prison was designed in a way that after stepping out of the prison cells you would have to enter into a courtyard and go through another gate before you can get your freedom. The plan was to follow the chaplain through the first gate, capture the prison guard and step out through the second gate. This plan failed due to the suspicion by the prison guards.

Fortunately, they realized they could climb the prison walls and jump in to the sea at Jamestown. The group led by one Sgt Malik a former bodyguard to a prominent retired senior officer then made their way to the roadside and rush to the James fort prison where they released Lance corporal Gyiwah and co.

The number of prisoners who were unwilling to break jail were either shot by the infiltrators or forced at gun point to join the attack.

Their objective at this stage was to free as much prisoners as they can before deciding to do something about Jerry John Rawlings and his PNDC regime.

THE ATTACK AND RELEASE.

The infiltrators now joined by the armed escapees proceeded to attack the field engineers guard room, naval base guard room, BNI cells and Nsawam to release their other colleagues.

Prisoners released were mainly former members of military intelligence department, service personnels standing trials for the November 23rd attempts, service personnels under investigation for their involvement in the February 27th attempts and others who were under investigation for several offences.

Some of the rebels made their way to the airport to seize armoured vehicles whiles others such as Carlos Halidu Gyiwah and Mathew Adabuga went to the broadcasting house to announce their take over of their government from Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings and his PNDC colleagues.

According to Richard Kortei a news reader and head of programs/operations at the Ghana broadcasting house,; " everything seems normal until about five past ten in the morning when he heard something like lightening and thunder from his air-conditioned office. But when he came in to the open he smelled smoke, when he checked from the extending national studios some of the staff were sitting on the floor. It was there he saw some men in tracksuit, white shorts with one or two in cloth. They forced one lady announcer to show them the way to the newsroom where they subsequently made their announcements.


According to Yaw Asamoah, a disc jokee on duty, Carlos Halidu Gyiwah came bare chested into the studios. He was accompanied by corporal Asare, a Lt col. Dennis who wore cloth.


In a statement by W.O.1 Adjei Boadi; " At the time I got there with my bodyguard the dessisents had taken gate one and three. The only alternative was gate two which I used. The enemy was on our men and they shouted on me to surrender, and I also barked on them to surrender."

They exchange fire for approximately two and a half hours during which Captain Quarshigah made an entry forcing the enemy forces to run away through gate three where they scattered into small hunts and were mostly on the run or in hiding.


Captain Courage Quarshigah demonstrated perhaps not only his spirit of courage and adventurism but also a sense of foresight, loyalty and leadership when would the forces of authority urge something which roughly reads like this;

" At about morning, a small group of dessisents managed their way into our national studios and made a false announcements to disrupt the activities of the PNDC. I Captain Courage Quarshigah on behalf of the PNDC, want to assure the nation that the situation is under control and that those dessisents should report themselves to the nearest police station or anyone seen in tracksuit entering military installation should be fired on sight."

The final stamp was put on Capt Quarshigah statement by both the force commander Brigadier Arnold Quainoo and the chairman of the PNDC Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.


In his speech first telecast in a live TV at about 5:55pm and later broadcast on radio, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings announced that; " We shall stand firmly by the objectives which we proclaimed for the revolution and 31st December 1981.

Loyal forces had once again defeated yet another attempt by our enemies to create panic, confusion and unnecessary fighting in our country. Some of the dissidents had been arrested and others killed.

Until further notice, all borders will remain closed. The situation is under firm control and a full statement will be made later.

I apologize for the inconveniences that would be created by the new curfew hours of 6pm to 5am which will not be long".


Kindly leave your comments below.

Thanks for reading.

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