21 February 2013

Ghana: Sophisticated Weapons in Bawku Come From Cote d' Ivoire

The Bawku Divisional Police Commander, ACP Kweku Buadu-Pepra, says most the sophisticated weapons in Bawku came from neighbouring Cote d' Ivoire during the election conflict that erupted in that country in 2002.

The Bawku Municipal Security Committee (MUSEC) recently announced a monetary reward package of GH¢3,000 for anyone with credible information that could lead to the security agencies retrieving weapons from civilians in the area.

The package also included individuals who would voluntarily hand over their weapons to the security agencies. The decision was arrived at a MUSEC meeting, which concluded that the reward package was the only surest way of cleaning the conflict-prone town of weapons.

Following the announcement of the reward package, the police in Bawku confiscated an AK47 assault rifle from its owners in January this year, upon a tip off. The identity of the informer was concealed, and the owner of the gun arrested.

On Sunday February 17, a man notified the police that he had a M16 rifle, and was ready to give it out. At about 5:00 p.m., he handed over the gun to the police at an arranged location.

The man then pleaded with the police to protect his identity, for fear of being disowned or harmed by his kinsmen. The police guaranteed him his request.

In an interview with ACP Buadu-Pepra, on his view on how these sophisticated weapons found their way into the hands of civilians in the area, he contended that the civilians acquired the weapons from the rebels in Cote d'Ivoire during the civil war in that country.

According to him, since Ghana shares a border with Cote d'Ivoire, it was easy for most of the rebels who had the weapons, but did not have money, to sell out those weapons. He added that one way the rebels could sell out their weapons was to target conflict areas in neighbouring countries like Ghana's Bawku.

At the time of instituting the reward package, the Bawku Municipal Chief Executive, Abdulai Musah, gave the assurance that the Assembly was committed to cleaning the area of weapons, and would, therefore, ensure that informants and owners of weapons who voluntarily hand them over would be rewarded with GH¢3,000.

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