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28.03.2004 General News

NGOs threaten to pull out due to armed robberies

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Tamale, March 27, GNA - Members of a consortium of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and international organisations operating in the Tamale Metropolis have decried what they described as "unsecured working environment" in the region due to constant armed robbery attacks on them and other individuals in the Metropolis.

They have therefore threatened to withdraw their services in the region if the Northern Regional Security Council fails to act swiftly to improve the situation for them to operate in safety.

The two groups registered their displeasure at a joint news conference in Tamale at the weekend.

Mr Hamza Tijani, Senior Programmes Officer of IBIS, a Danish development and solidarity NGO, who read the statement for the NGOs, said there had been 13 armed robbery attacks on NGOs, especially expatriate staff in the region between April 2003 and January 2004 and that "no concrete measures appear to have been taken to guarantee the safety of their foreign staff and offices".

"We have made several reports to the security agencies about these robbery attacks but the security personnel are doing nothing to guarantee the safety of the staff and offices of the NGOs", he alleged. He mentioned the NGOs, which had been attacked in recent times as the Opportunities and Industrialisation Centre (OIC), Consar (Italian Contractor), Shekina Clinic, Rural Water and Sanitation Project, TechnoServe, Action Aid, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Northern Region Malaria Project (NORMAP), CIDA/PSU, Village Aid and ACDEP.

He said in some of these robberies office equipment, personal effects, as well as unspecified amounts in both local and foreign currencies had been stolen.

Mr Tijani noted that all these attacks took place in the night during the curfew hours and expressed regret that the security agencies patrolling the Metropolis could not make any arrest.

He said individuals were robbed at gunpoint, while some female expatriates who were beaten and raped by the robbers had since left for home.

Mrs Janet Adama Mohammed, Director of the Christian Council of Ghana, Northern Sector, deplored the attitude of the police towards armed robbery cases in the region. "The police pay prominence to political issues more than tackling armed robbery in the region".

She appealed to the Northern Regional Police Command to redouble its efforts to rid the region of crime and gave the assurance that the NGOs would assist them where necessary to carry out their duties more efficiently. 27 Mar. 04