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Bawku Crisis

2008-05-19 21:05:55
This article has been read 1150 times.

The police have identified thirteen areas in the Bawku municipality in the Upper East Region where tension is gradually mounting. The areas include Possum, Kariyama, Mazema, Zebilla, Binduri, Bazua, Sagabo, Karu, Bugri, Pusiga and Zamzugu, all noted as Kusasi areas.

The rest include Natinga around the Bawku Hospital, a Mamprusi stronghold and the Sabongari around the Bawku Dam, which has a mixture of both major tribes and other minority tribes.

The police are therefore making frantic efforts to curtail the break of a disaster in these areas.

Though senior police officers have refused to comment on the situation in the area, considering its sensitive nature, the Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Police Service, DSP Kwesi Ofori is confident that peace would soon return to the area.

In an interview with the paper, he was optimistic that the two ethnic groups would give peace a chance for the development of the area and its inhabitants.

Sources trace the root cause of the Bawku crisis to a protracted chieftaincy dispute between the Kusasis who are said to be the indigenous people of the area and the Mamprusis who are believed to be settlers from Nalerigu in the Northern Region, who came to the area through conquest in wars, some decades ago.

They have since established their hegemony over the Kusasis.

The area is currently being ruled by a Kusasi chief but it used to be ruled by a Mamprusi.

In spite of the tribal sentiments attached to the Bawku crisis, some have also read political meanings into it.

Whilst the Kusasis are tagged as supporters of the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Mamprusis are tagged as supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Meanwhile, The Chronicle has gathered that the Mamprusis are poised to take over the chieftaincy reign of the area for the reason that their supposed government is in power, thereby making it almost impossible for either the political authority or the security agencies to find a lasting solution to the problem.

The paper has also learnt that after President Kufuor met leaders of both ethnic groups, the area enjoyed a relative peace until some incidents degenerated into armed conflict between the two tribes.

Security sources say the renewed clashes were as a result of some arrests that the security agencies made which were misconstrued as an anti Kusasi action. Additionally, the shooting to death of a Kusasi arms dealer, Alhaji Karimu, a.k.a Ogah, when he was returning home after an evening prayer.

The Kusasis suspected that the killing of Ogah was perpetrated by certain Mamprusis in retaliation of the murder of late Alhassan Yiremiah, a.k.a Rokes, also an opinion leader of the Mamprusis.

The source observed that the perpetrators of the violence are not organised but operate separately as individuals based on their tribes, hence making it difficult for the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to identify groups or their leaders to deal with them, regarding the solution to the problem.

The problem in Bawku has resulted in a situation where making political appointments of natives in the area have become difficult for government since the appointee is likely to be bias.

The source emphasized that it has been agreed that the increased police presence could salvage the Bawku crisis.

The Bawku Municipality has thus been zoned into five sectors with headquarters in Pusiga, Bazua, Garu, Zebila and Binduri.


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