6 February 2019

Ghana: 200 Burkinabe Seek Refuge in Ghana

About 200 Burkinabes from Zoaga-Zabre in the Northern Province of Burkina Faso fleeing chieftaincy conflict at the weekend crossed the border to seek refuge in Ghana.

They entered Ghana through the northwestern route to Widnaba, Tilli and Soogo communities in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region.

Some of them have been registered for consideration for refugee status by the Ghana Immigration Service and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in Zebilla, the district capital.

The Bawku West District Chief Executive (DCE), Madam Victoria Ayamba, disclosed this at the weekend after the district joint security committee visited the people to access their situation.

Madam Ayamba who is also the chairpreson of the District Security Committee briefing the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the visit said majority of the people were hosted by local families, while some were hosted by chiefs in their palaces.

She said the refugees included women and children who had fled from their homes to the area on foot for safety because most of their family members had been killed and their homes burnt down.

The DCE said the assembly, NADMO and other organisations would continue to monitor the situation and work on a response plan in case of an increase of arrivals, including the pre-positioning of relief items.

She hinted that the assembly, with local authorities and host communities were providing the refuge seekers with emergency humanitarian aid of food and non-food items.

Madam Ayamba who presented relief items to the refugees later called on the people not to panic as authorities were working to contain the situation.

She urged other organisations such as the World Food Programme (WFP), Action Aid Ghana and the World Vision International, Ghana to support the assembly to manage the situation.

Pastor Simon Azure of the Calvary Chapel at Zoaga, on behalf of the refuge seekers, commended the government for the support given to them.

Pastor Azure who narrated his ordeal to the GNA said, "I was at one of the communities in Zoaga on my usual evangelism tour when I received a phone call from a friend who said: 'Zoaga township was on fire and that it was as result of a chieftaincy dispute.'"

He added that the two royal gates - the new chief and the old chief - were fighting at a shrine due to some misunderstanding; one person was killed at the spot, and that escalated the fight to the entire Zoaga township and other communities.

"I saw houses being burnt, there was smoke everywhere in the community not quite long, I received another phone call and I was told that the former mayor of Zabre had been shot dead at the Assemblies of God Church pastor's residence and so, my family, the new chief and other relatives run here for our lives," he added.

Pastor Azure called on other benevolent organisations to aid them with food and other basic needs to enable them survive.



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