A security expert, Emmanuel Bombande, has called for the cessation of the ongoing conflict in Bawku. He revealed that the rift can be resolved if the aggrieved parties resort to dialogue.
Mr Bombade indicated that despite the fact that the ongoing conflict is serious, a well-coordinated dialogue between the disgruntled groups can help restore peace and calm in the area. He noted that similar to what happened during the Dagbon crisis, peace can equally be restored if engagement among affected parties are undertaken.
“The guns must go silent in Bawku. And the way to do that, you see a gate keeping role, and then you see a dialogue and consultative role. Now, from where I sit, I know that quite a number of civil society organisations, including my former WANEP Ghana Network, Star Ghana in coordination with so many other civil society organisations are working with the Peace Council, particularly of the Upper East Region, to build bridges to promote dialogue. But all their efforts will be upended if the Military, which has the role of peacekeeping, is rather turning guns on civilians”.Emmanuel Bombande
Military presence in Bawku
The security expert expressed that the presence of the military in Bawku has the potential of worsening an already dangerous situation if care is not taken. Mr. Bombande expressed that residents must feel safe in having the presence of the military. With this, he emphasized the need for military officials to discharge their peacekeeping role, without posing any risk to civilians in the community.
Meanwhile, an Assembly Member in the Bawku traditional area, Paul Musah recounted the ordeal of some residents caught in the cross-fire of the Bawku conflict which led to the shooting of 3 Military personnel. He explained that the exchanges between the Military and the conflicting parties, equally led to the death of some residents.
“Around 4:00am, there were some gunshots. Even though I was not there, there were some serious gunshots battles between the Mamprusi’s and the Kusasi’s. So, all of a sudden, what we heard was that the Military intervened. But I don’t know what happened and then it’s like military have now overtaken the Mamprusis and they’re now fighting with the Kusasis. And what we found out was that, they have injured some of the military guys, and they believe it was from the Kusasi people. So, to the extent that the military was chasing the Kusasis away, they shot some of them”.Paul Musah
Mr Musah intimated that a resident of the area, Issahaku Abdulai, was shot dead by the Military, as well as an unidentified nine year old boy, who also died from the shootings by the Military.
Currently, the Chief of Pusiga, Naa Ibrahim Abugri, has confirmed a raid of his palace by some police and military personnel, following the conflict between the two ethnic groups. He narrated that around 10:00am, personnel from the police and military arrived in about eight armour cars, and fired warning shots at his residence. He noted that he refused to come out to interact with the military and police commanders.
Following the conflict in Bawku, the Upper East Regional Police Command has so far announced the arrest of 18 persons in the area suspected to be connected to the conflict.