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25.03.2009 NDC News

NDC supporters fail to disarm

By Daily Guide

THE ONE month ultimatum given by the Northern Regional Minister, Stephen S. Nayina for armed party supporters and individuals to disarm in the northern region has been defied with impunity, DAILY GUIDE has discovered.

As at press time, DAILY GUIDE gathered from the regional police command that no single ammunition or gun had been handed over to the police as directed by the minister in his maiden meeting with representatives   of the country's two main political parties; the Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) with members of REGSEC.

Not even calls by Vice President John Dramani Mahama to that effect could yield the desired results, creating room for many questions.

The directive, preceded the VEEPS call, followed a disclosure by the police that a number of supporters of the two political parties were in possession of sophisticated weapons used during the recent arsons and reprisals in the region.  

Many of them, security sources revealed to the minister, were wielding SMG assault riffles, G3s, shot guns and AK47 ammunitions; a claim the leadership of both parties admitted.  

Exactly a month after the ultimatum, the security personnel are yet to receive a single weapon from the civil society, in a bid to retrieve illegal arms fueling the recurrence of violence in the region.    

The minister, upon assumption of office, spoke tough on violence in the region and stated categorically that he was not in the position to condone violence, irrespective of its cause in the region.

It was against this background he gave a month's ultimatum to residents to disarm for their own safety or incur his wrath.  

The leadership of both parties, based on ample evidence by the minister, admitted before the REGSEC that their supporters  had guns and promised to cooperate with the security agencies to hand them over for their own safety as directed but have failed to do so.  

DAILY GUIDE has however gathered that the minister's directive which has been thrown to the dogs would compel the REGSEC and the security agencies to hunt and arrest persons possessing weapons; a similar promised action his predecessor failed to take. 

Mr. Nayina,  who has been angered over the recurrence of violence in the region at  a maiden  emergency meeting with members of Regional Security Council (REGSEC), promised to deal ruthlessly with anyone who would try to undermine the peace in the region through violence, based on reports that various factions were stockpiling arms for retaliatory attacks.  

The minister, whose welcome to the region was greeted with fierce fighting resulting in the loss of a life and the destruction of several properties running into several thousands of Ghana cedis, proved his neutrality and one of the toughest ministers ever appointed to the region.  

Many peace lovers are now waiting on the minister to stamp his authority to ensure that his promises of ridding the region of weapons is not a political gimmic.

Mr. Nayina earlier expressed his optimism that the leadership of the political parties could play significant roles to reduce or eliminate the frequent destructive violence being recorded in Tamale.

He bemoaned the extent at which the region had gained notoriety in arsons but has been given the shock of his life as the parties failed to get their supporters to disarm.

From Stephen Zoure, Tamale