On his maiden visit to Bawku upon assuming office, as Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, on Wednesday, called on Kusasis and Mamprusis in the area to coexist peacefully.
He said Ghanaians voted the present government to power in the December polls because they wanted a change for the better in their lives. "But that change we all yearn for can only be realized in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity," he said.
During a courtesy call on the Bawku Naba, Asigri Abugrago Azoka, the Second, the Regional Minister urged the chief to persuade his people to give peace a chance.
He said Kusasis and Mamprusis had become one people by virtue of inter-marriages over the years, and that as brothers and sisters any problems that may exist between them should be resolved through dialogue.
He said due to its strategic location, Bawku was of great significance to the economic development of the Upper East Region, adding that this became obvious in years gone-by when the town became the number one business destination in the three Northern Regions.
The Bawku Naba blamed the disturbances in the area on "some people who do not become happy when there is peace in Bawku."
He commended security agencies for bringing the situation under control and charged them to bring the instigators of the recent hostilities to book.
Mr. Woyongo also interacted with elders and opinion leaders of the Mamprusi community in the town.
He indicated that his primary objective was to ensure the return of lasting peace to Bawku.
"Peace is of great concern to us because the poverty that now stares our people in the face must be driven out to pave the way for development," he said.
The Regional Minister outlined government's plans to introduce projects that would create jobs for residents of the area and appealed to the elders to impress on the rest of the community the need to end hostilities.
He urged the youth in particular to "put the guns down", saying that their lives were precious and that the nation needed them alive to help advance the cause of development.
An elder of the Mamprusi community, Alhaji Akalifa Abugre, said the Mamprusis had always stood for peace, and that conflict was not something that anyone should go looking for.
Alhaji Akalifa assured the Regional Minister of the community's support in his efforts to bring about lasting peace.
He also expressed their appreciation for the visit, and wished the Regional Minster God's guidance in the discharge of his duties.
Accompanying Mr. Woyongo were the regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Alhaji Hamidu Mahama, the Commanding Officer of the Tamale Airborne Force, Mr. Isaac Awuah Mantey, the Regional Coordinating Director, Mr. Samuel N'lary, and the Bawku Municipal Coordinating Director, Mr. Yakubu Alhassan Abukari.