Mark Woyongo FIVE PERSONS were reportedly killed yesterday in renewed ethnic clashes at Bawku in the Upper East region - the same day the Regional Minister, Mark Woyongo took office.
In the midst of the violent clashes, a policeman deployed to the scene, Constable Peter Ayivie, was shot in the leg.
Twenty-seven (27) persons had so far been arrested and dispatched to the regional capital, Bolgatanga, for screening.
A source at Bawku named two of the deceased as Azay and Harare Hamidu, while the other persons were yet to be identified as at press time. One other person, Rahim Alhassan, was also on admission at a hospital in Bawku, under critical condition.
Azay, who was about 30, was shot at close range in the tummy around 10.00pm on Sunday near the office of the Ghana National Fire Service at Bawku, while another dead body was allegedly found around the Bolgatanga lorry station at Bawku yesterday morning, with three other deaths recorded in the day.
Harare Hamidu reportedly died from shock upon hearing raging gunshots in the Bawku conflict conundrum, while rushing to pick his child from school.
The Police Administration, in a statement issued in Accra yesterday and signed by DSP Kwesi Ofori, Police Director of Public Affairs, warned residents of the area to desist from fomenting trouble, as his outfit would deal ruthlessly with any such persons.
“The Police are hence calling on the people to be law-abiding and support the security agencies in maintaining law and order. It is the civic responsibility of opinion leaders of the factions to ensure that their people stay away from disturbances,” the statement said.
The Vice President, John Dramani Mahama was expected to visit the conflict-prone area today to meet the warring factions.
Business activities in the area had come to a halt, while sounds of gunshots were being heard despite the afternoon curfew.
Though the source of the latest disturbance was not immediately known, it came nearly nine months after severe confusion and chaos rocked the area.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku, Hon. Daramani Adamu has called for calm and appealed to all the feuding factions in the Bawku conflict to exercise restraint and allow peace to prevail in the area.
He also urged the Minister for the Interior, Hon. Cletus Avoka to act fast to ensure that the security agencies, especially the Police, were neutral and decisive in dealing with troublemakers to prevent an escalation of the already volatile situation in Bawku and its environs.
The last time such killings took place in the area was in June last year when 10 people were killed by night at Buabula, a suburb of Bawku.
Following the involvement of the National Peace Council, the invitation of all political parties by former President Kufuor for peace talks in Accra and other interventions, calm was restored to the area, and many thought the situation would improve in no time to justify the total lifting of the curfew from the area.
The Upper East Regional Minister had reiterated that in his address to the people of the region on his arrival at the weekend. He said that ensuring peace in the Bawku municipality and restoring its image as the business hub of the Upper East was his ultimate desire.
Meanwhile, the Minister has approved the deployment of additional Police personnel to ensure calm in the area, as an immediate solution to the chaos.
He called for an emergency Regional Security Council meeting yesterday to find a short term solution to the recent problem in the area.
A source close to the Police said some arrests had been made, while a search had been mounted for some persons believed to be involvedin the recent chaos.
The Upper East Regional Police Commander, DCOP, Hamidu Mahama and other senior Police officers were on the ground to guarantee the safety of law-abiding citizens.
The Bawku Municipality is yet to have a Municipal Chief Executive, and from the look of things, he or she would be welcomed with chaos, just like the last MCE, Abdualai Abanga.
From Ebo Bruce-Quansah