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Bawku Violence

2008-01-04 17:41:24
This article has been read 778 times.

AMONG THE 22 persons arrested by the police and the military at Bawku, in connection with a communal conflict, between the Kusasis and Mamprusis, over a chieftaincy issue, is a member of the Community Protection Unit (CPU), a module under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).

Adam Balla was among the 11 persons, who were arrested for exchanging fire with the police and the military. A source close to the police at Bawku said Adam Balla was identified by one of the police officers at Bawku as a member of the CPU.

11 others were also arrested for blocking the roads. They are to assist the police in their investigations Meanwhile when The Chronicle conducted DCOP/Mr. Ofosu-Mensah Gyeabour, Upper East Regional Police Commander, he denied that the persons were arrested for exchanging fire with his men and the military, but for various offences, which he would not mention. He also put the number of the arrested persons at 15.

While unofficial sources say the death toll has risen to about 10, the police put it at four. This has left a dark stain on the image of the police, about how they handled the situation, which they first described as a mere incident of armed robbery.

The cause of the communal clash that ensued, between Kusasis and Mamprusis, is said to be a chieftaincy problem but it has now become clear that it is annual phenomenon either before or after the Samampiid festival. This, according to history, started in the 1950s.

A source told this paper that while the security men were concentrating on the Bawku Township and its environs, the two factions were also engaged in an exchange of fire at the eastern part of the municipality, where more deaths were likely to be recorded as a result.

On Monday January 1, 2008, thick smoke and flames spewed out from all over Bawku with sporadic gunshots heard everywhere. Residents, especially women and children, were spotted in groups taking refuge. The principal streets of the most business-oriented town in the Upper East Region were absolutely deserted.

Journalists, who accompanied the Regional Minister to talk to elders of the two factions, to call on their people to lay down their weapons for peace to prevail, had to take cover under trees, buildings and rocks for fear of being hit by stray bullets.

In a related development, Hon Alhassan Samari, the Upper East Regional Minister has directed medical doctors at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital to treat injured victims and submit all the medical bills to the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council for settlement. The Regional Minister gave the directive when he paid a visit to injured victims at the regional hospital, to ascertain the degrees of their injuries and also wish them speedy recovery.

The Minister's directive was prompted by a complaint by Dr. Richard Anangura, of the regional hospital, that some of the injured victims were not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Dr. Anangura said about 15 persons, including a female, sustained gunshot wounds with the female in critical condition.

He expressed worry about the types of guns that were being used by the civilians, describing them as highly suffocated.

The Regional Minister, who was visibly worried, was accompanied by members of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC).


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