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Bawku Needs Metal Detectors for Disarmament Exercise

2008-07-16 22:50:09
This article has been read 868 times.

Mr. Amadu Ibrahim Zakaria, a program officer of the Ghana Network for Peacebuilding (GHANEP) has called on government to provide metal detectors for the Ghana Police Service to ensure the retrieval of all arms and ammunitions being used in the Bawku conflict.

He has also requested the disconnection of all telephone lines to prevent communication between combatants. This will, in turn, prevent further arms haul and reinforcements by combatants.

If this is done, the situation can be controlled and peace will return to Bawku, according to Mr. Amadu Zakaria, who is stationed in the northern sector for GHANEP. He added that curfew impositions were only a temporary measure.

He made the observation in an interview with Public Agenda at a workshop organized by Shay-Mah media consult in Tamale recently.

Justifying the call for the disconnection of telephone lines, the programme officer said he was very much aware of the rights of other citizens, but present circumstances in the area demanded such an action. He wondered why communication experts and other people had not thought of such methods.

He said communication had become very easy and this always puts criminals one step ahead of security agencies.

"They would always be ahead of the police because whenever they (police) move into an area others would only use a mobile phone to inform their partners where the security is heading toward" (Sic).

Giving an insight into "conflicts in northern Ghana," Mr Amadu Zakaria stated that there have been over 41 violent conflicts in the area which have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and property. He said about 19 of these conflicts were in the northern region alone.

According to him, official death figures given during any war are about a third of the actual figure.

He mentioned that there were 19 hanging conflicts in the northern region, warning that any one of them could erupt if triggered and create instability for the whole country. He noted that elections could influence any one of them because of partisan politics.

Particularly, he said the use of sophisticated arms is making it very difficult for the security to curb the situation in the northern sector, more especially in the Bawku area.

He noted, "So long as we are human we can't do away with conflict; what we can do is to manage it well".

Mr. Amadu Zakaria however condemned "the culture of impunity." He said the "situation where people think nothing would happen to them must stop," adding that manipulation of social groupings especially the youth should be given a second thought by leaders.

Turning attention to the Dagbon conflict, he said the road map set up for both parties involved in the conflict must be followed by all since that is the only way forward. Civil society must play its role because that is the only way we can live in peace, he added.

He tasked the media in the region to embark on sensitization activities on peace to let the people understand violent conflict and its effects on society. He stated that all hands must be on deck to ensure the smooth and uninterrupted implementation of the current Dagbon peace plan and the need to increase engagement and support for the youth on non-violent approaches to peacebuilding.

Mr Alhassan Imoro, Director for Rural Media Network said in the period leading up to the general elections, media practitioners must emphasize "citizen-based" election coverage.

He tasked journalist to focus on issues, solutions and facts rather than merely reporting on which presidential party or candidate is in the lead, the campaign strategy of the candidate or their vague promises. "Our coverage should include issues that are important to the electorates such as health, water, agriculture, education and housing.

"We should not become public relation officers for political parties," he cautioned.


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