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07.10.2005 Regional News

Military launches operations to tackle armed robberies

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Koforidua, Oct 07, GNA - Mr Yaw Barimah, the Eastern Regional Minister, has launched military-cum-police operations in the Eastern Region at Koforidua aimed at combating armed robbery and activities of Fulani herdsmen in the region.

The operations, known as "Operations Calm Life", "Halt" and "Cow leg", involved detachments of the First Battalion of Infantry (1BN), Tema, and the Ghana Police Service. The security crackdown targets armed robbers and other criminal elements in the region.

Mr Barimah deplored a growing trend of impunity especially on the part of Fulani herdsmen and other criminal elements whose activities had claimed several human lives in recent times.

He said the operations were being launched because of the fear that criminal elements would scale up their activities in the fourth quarter of the year by carrying out more daring attacks and robberies.

The Minister noted with concern that the Fulani herdsmen in the region were seeking to be a law unto themselves, citing their recent killing of three forest plantation workers in the Kwahu area and setting on fire several arable land.

Mr Barimah also recalled the recent murder of a female teacher in Koforidua in a grisly pre-dawn armed robbery attack on her family, all of which underlined the need for some show of force by the security agencies "even if that will occasionally disrupt civilian activity."

The death of the teacher in particular, he stated, "brought to the fore how vulnerable we have all become to the activities of armed robbers", but assured the people of the determination of the government, regardless of the financial cost, to protect law-abiding citizens. Mr Barimah urged the public to co-operate with the security agencies as they visit their communities in search of criminal gangs.

Col Okyere, the General Officer Commanding the Southern Command of the Ghana Armed Forces, said there was an indication that some of the Fulani herdsmen were linked to some armed robbery activities in the country.

"In the suburbs, corners and alleys of the country, we shall have men and women monitoring each of them. No stone will be left unturned in our commitment to the government and the good people of this country." Col Okyere said the objective of the operation was not aimed at preventing migrants from sister nations from living in Ghana but was to ensure that the nation's environment and the security of the people were guaranteed.

Four officers and 110 military and police personnel have been deployed for the three operations. 07 Oct 2005.