Bawku people deserve to live in peace – Alan Kyeremanten

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Former Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyeremanten has joined the list of prominent Ghanaians to speak on the latest killings in Bawku. Three people recently lost their lives to violence in the area with the Ghana Armed Forces accused of being responsible for the deaths.

Commenting on the issue, the 2024 Independent Presidential aspirant said the people of Bawky deserve to live in peace just like any other group of people. He urged the military men stationed at Bawku to be professional and act with caution.

“Like many Ghanaians, the unfortunate killing of three men by the soldiers from the Ghana Armed Forces in Bawku, as confirmed by the military in a press release dated 20th January 2024 that it was an action taken to neutralise some assailants, troubled my heart greatly. The innocent, hardworking, and kind-hearted people of Bawku deserve to live in peace and harmony. Living in fear and a constant sense of insecurity is the worst thing that can happen to every human being.

“I, therefore, wish to humbly admonish the respected military personnel who have been posted to Bawku to help provide security and ensure that the good people of Bawku live in peace, to continue to act professionally to indeed ensure that no human life is wasted while protecting their lives. Our ultimate duty to God and country is to protect the lives of the people there.

“Let us not cease to be mindful that every human life is as precious and priceless as ours. Let’s therefore learn to be each other’s keeper and continue to work towards a lasting peace in the Bawku area and beyond. We are one people from different backgrounds. We are Ghanaians. We are peace-loving people. Let’s give peace a chance in BAWKU. God bless our Homeland Ghana to rise again!”

Meanwhile, the Ghana Armed Forces have denied being responsible for the deaths. The GAF released a statement detailing the occurrence of the incident.

GAF statement on Bawku killings

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has noticed with concern allegations by some individuals in Bawku and the media that soldiers deployed on Operation Maida Buuri to restore calm in the area have killed 3 innocent Kusasi youth at Sabongari, a suburb of Bawku. It is also alleged that the assailants were initially held in custody by own troops and subsequently executed.

It was further suggested that the Missiga Assemblyman personally approached the Bawku Detachment at about 1930hrs to negotiate the release of the deceased assailants. GAF wishes to categorically state that these allegations are false and unfounded.

Reports from 11 Mechanised Battalion deployed in Bawku indicate that factions to the conflict appear to have resumed escalation of violence with fatal consequences. The current streak of violence began on Friday 12 January 2024 at about 1455hs with the murder of one Is sah Halidu, a 40-year-old Mamprusi. The deceased reportedly attempted rustling 4 cattle at Avengo, a Kusasi-dominated settlement but was pursued by unidentified gunmen and shot in the head and back. Troops dispatched to the scene retrieved two 7.62x39mm live rounds from the deceased’s pocket.

On the night of Friday 12 January and early hours of Saturday 13 January 2024, sporadic gunshots were heard at New Station, Daduuri and Maziama. On Wednesday 17 January 2024, at about 1320 hrs, unknown gunmen attacked members of the public behind Bawku Divisional Police Station killing 2 victims and injuring 4 others. The deceased victims were of the Mamprusi and Moshie tribe while the other victims with various degrees of injuries were of Bissa, Busanga and Grushie descent. On the same day, at about 2000hrs, unknown assailants murdered one Azumah Alhassan, a 47-year-old Kusasi Professor at Sokabisi, Bolgatanga. This spawned spordic gunshots at Bawku later at night.

Furthermore, on Thursday 18 January 2024 at about 0430 hrs, unknown gunmen hiding in a valley fired at our troops position at Avengo. In another development, at about 0530 hrs same day, a Ghana Police patrol team spotted 2 locals attempting to light up an Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) bomb at a Goil Filling Station in Bawku. The suspects fled upon sighting the patrol team leaving behind the bomb. Ghana Police retrieved the Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) and handed over same for safe custody at 11 Mechanised Battalion Magazine at B.

It is worth mentioning that at about 2030 his same day, own troops conducting night foot patrols around Hasania School at Sabongari were fired upon by 4 gunmen. Troops returned fire

spontaneously neutralising 3 of the assailants. The fourth suspect managed to escape. Troops retrieved one AK-47 rifle loaded with 16 rounds of 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition. Ghana Police team arrived the location subsequently to convey the deceased assailants to the morgue. The AK-47 rifle with serial number 81-1/13024074 inspected by Bawku Divisional Police personnel is currently in own custody.

In as much as GAF gets the demise of the assailants, the escalating violence in the Bawku general area is unfortunate. The presence and attempt to detonate high explosives such as RPG bombs in the operational environment signposts the changing dynamics of the threat profile. Following these incidents and subsequent false allegations making the rounds, GAF finds it necessary to disclose details of the operations on Thursday 18 January 2024 with the view to debunking false information and the unsubstantiated notion that a particular group is being targeted by troops deployed in Bawku.

It is instructive to note that directly engaging the military is a development that could result in fatal consequences; as troops will spare no opportunity to defend themselves as well as protect residents of Bawku. Therefore, fictions in the Bawku conflict are cautioned against drawing the military into direct armed confrontation while efforts are undertaken to resolve the current impasse.

GAF wishes to assure the general public of its fervent commitment to protecting the citizenry. It is therefore imploring the support of all peace-loving Ghanaians, especially the good people of Bawkuto facilitate the process of bringing lasting peace to the area and also to aid GAF and sister security agencies in de-escalating tension in the interest of peace, security and socio- economic development of Bawku and the nation in general.

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