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Military restricts entry into Burma Camp

The Ghana Armed Forces has begun restricting entry into its headquarters, the Burma Camp in Accra.

Anyone who intends to enter the camp would have to show a valid proof of identity at the entrance.

Since last week Thursday, guards have been turning away residents and visitors who are unable to provide any identity card.

On Sunday, Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo who was on board a commercial vehicle from Circle to Burma Camp reports more than half of the passengers were ordered out of the vehicle because they could not produce their ID cards.

“This is our camp, it is a military zone. We need to know everyone who enters,” one of the soldiers at the entrance told the passengers.

It took the intervention a senior military officer to get the passengers to make it pass the entrance.

The senior military official pleaded with the guards that the controls had been introduced only recently and most residents were unaware.

However, Joseph Opoku Gakpo reports that since that incident, the controls have resumed with full force. Some commericial vehicles and their occupants have been turned away because the driver could not produce a valid ID card.

Burma Camp is more than just a military facility. It is a community on its own with thousands of residents.

It does not hold only armouries or serve as homes for military offices, but it also accommodates army personnel and their civilian family members.

There are more than 10 basic schools at Burma Camp attended by children from all parts of Accra.

There are markets, “trotro” stations, churches, fitness and entertainment centers, banks, and other facilities. The centers are open to both residents in Burma Camp and outsiders.

Until recently, there was virtually no difference between Burma Camp and any other Accra suburb, except being a gated community where military personnel wielding guns at the entrance to ensure cars slow down before entry.

They sometimes search vehicles before entry but passage is always smooth.
But the story has changed now.

Residents’ reaction to the move have been mixed. While some are excited about it, others believe it is not necessary.

“Actually I learnt that there is one guy who just completed KNUST, he has joined ISIS, and so the security at Burma Camp is trying to tidy up things. You know when it comes to attacks, [terrorists’] main focus is the military zone,” a resident told Joy News.

“Some don’t live here, they come to visit their relatives, so it can’t be that everyone should have an ID card. We have tourists attractions here that people come to visit, so to me it’s not necessary,” another who criticised the move noted.

However, other residents who support the move by the military say it will ensure the safety of residents and the military.

The Military High Command also insists the new measure is standard practice at military installations across the world.

“It is nothing strange, from time to time, we carry out such exercises. The focus shifts from time to time… You will recall sometime back without AMA embossment on your taxis, [drivers] can never enter Burma Camp,” Head of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col Eric Aggrey Quarshie told Joy News.


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