Public Agenda (Accra)

8 May 2009

Ghana: Kusasi Opinion Leaders Attribute Recent Violence in Bawku to Armed Robbers

Bawku — Opinion leaders of the Kusasis in the Bawku Traditional Area have attributed the recent violence that broke out on April 30th at the cattle market to armed robbers who wanted to exploit the conflict in the area to rob people.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed by Mr. Thomas Abila and Alhaji Yakubu Azangbeogo members of the opinion leaders of the Kusasis and copied to the press.

It would be recalled that on the said market day there were some gun shots by unknown people believed to be armed robbers in the market compelling people to run for their lives. Two persons were killed, others injured and cattle that were sent to the market for sale driven away by unknown people.

The statement explained the incident happened at a time that everybody was beginning to accept that peace had returned to Bawku.

It said the opinion leaders conducted an interview to find out how the incident occurred and it was established that people were busy transacting their business in the market when gun shots were fired by some unknown crooks believed to be armed robbers.

According to the statement pandemonium broke loose and as a result two people got hit, a Mamprusis and Kusasi a man, apparently by stray bullets, both persons reported to the police. It was therefore wrong for Alhaji Danladi to allege in a radio interview that Kusasis had targeted him and missed.

The statement noted that when the incident occurred, both the Mamprusi and Kusasi people ran for safety and there was no animosity among them. The Mamprusis involved were able to return to their area without any molestation.

The statement indicated that the incident led to the shooting to death of a middle aged Kusasi man by a group of Mamprusis and the lynching another kusasi man who was pulled out of a pick-up truck.

In the process an unknown old man and a young boy pulling a donkey cart were captured and taken to unknown destination and had since not returned.

It pointed out that babies were also kidnapped by some Mamprusis youth until their mothers paid some monies to them before they were allowed to take back their babies and several Kusasis beaten up with no provocation in the Mamprusis area.

"We on the Kusasis side have refrained from retaliating because we regarded the issue as the work of thieves and criminals which should be left with the security personnel to deal with because two wrongs do not make a right but the patience of Kusasis are not inexhaustible if such matters are allowed to continue" the statement stressed.

The statement stressed the need for the law enforcement agencies to arrest all criminals involved in the crimes and deal with them drastically to serve as a deterrent to others and also called on them to revisit the gruesome murder of the Boabula woman and children during the last communal violence.

In another development, the Bawku Municipal Coordinating Director, Mr. Yakubu Alhassan Abubakar told the media that he regretted that the incident had been linked to the ethnic conflict in the area and said it was far from that.

He told the Media that as a result of the violence, 38 cattle belonging to people who had brought the animals to the market to sell were stolen.

He noted that the security personnel had so far retrieved 33 of the stolen cattle and people were asked to identify them and that so far two suspects had been arrested whereas investigations were still being made by the police to arrest more of the suspects for trail.

He said people were going about with their normal duties and the situation was under control.

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