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Bawku conflict: Kusaag youth face off military in verbal wrangle

For the renewed disturbances in Bawku and its environs, members of the Kusaag Youth Movement are demanding the immediate removal of DCOP Dr Saibu Pabi Gariba, the Upper East Regional Police Commander; Captain Ekor Sagoe, the Commanding Officer of the Military in Bawku; and Mr Amadu Hamza, the Municipal Chief Executive.

The residents of Kusaag, according to the youth, are now living in fear since they can’t tell the difference between their foes and the soldiers.

They also want the following soldiers to be detained and prosecuted right away:

Yambor Raymond ABF – ID – 213505,

Suayam Emmanuel 6BN – ID – 213481, and

Jibril Nabil 6BN – ID – 212165

Staff Sergeant Baba Zibrilla, a station mechanic (LAD) at Bazua Camp for allegedly killing and maiming innocent civilians including women and children and the burning of houses at Buabula on March 16, 2022.

On March 16, one person was shot dead at Missiga in the Bawku Municipality while five others sustained injuries.

The shooting incident happened during a swoop operation by the military.

The operation was met with resistance from residents of the community, resulting in gunfire.

In the process, one civilian was shot dead, while others sustained injuries.

It is on the back of this that the Kusaag Youth Movement, in a statement, alleged: “Unfortunately, what happened yesterday in Bawku cannot be described as peacekeeping effort by any stretch of imagination, as the military besieged Buabula and Zoogo, suburbs of Bawku inhabited mainly by Kusasis, and under the guise of maintaining peace, shot at unarmed men, women, children and livestock and burnt houses into ashes”.

“We have never, for the history of the numerous ethnic conflicts in Bawku, witnessed this gross unprofessional conduct before and, therefore, we have reason to suspect that the conduct of the Military yesterday has portrayed themselves as losing their impartiality for taking side against the Kusaasi, hence, their unprofessional conduct leaves much to be desired.”

Below is the full statement:

PRESS CONFERENCE ON MILITARY BRUTALITIES AND ATROCITIES IN BAWKU ON 15TH, 16TH AND 17TH MARCH 2022 BY KUSAUG YOUTH MOVEMENT

Ladies and gentlemen of the press we have invited you to the Kusaug Traditional Council here to express our deep concerns about the security situation in Bawku on the 15th, 16th and 17th March 2022. First of all, we wish to express our gratitude to the security agencies in Bawku for their tireless efforts in maintaining peace in Bawku over the years and in recent times for this needless conflict in Bawku.

By extension, we thank the government, and the President, HE Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo in particular, for his concern and commitment to maintaining peace in Bawku. However, on the 16th March 2022, we were dismayed about the brutish and unprofessional behaviour and conduct of the Military detachment in Bawku who are there to maintain peace among the people due to the ethnic conflict.

Unfortunately, what happened yesterday in Bawku cannot be described as a peacekeeping effort by any stretch of imagination, as the military besieged Buabula and Zoogo, suburbs of Bawku inhabited mainly by Kusasis, and under the guise of maintaining peace, shot at unarmed men, women, children and livestock and burnt houses into ashes. We have never, for the history of the numerous ethnic conflicts in Bawku, witnessed this gross unprofessional conduct before and, therefore, we have reason to suspect that the conduct of the Military yesterday has portrayed themselves as losing their impartiality for taking sides against the Kusaasi, hence their unprofessional conduct leaves much to be desired.

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Context of the military brutality

In 2008, women and children were slaughtered in cold blood in the Buabula community of Bawku when the Mamprusis disguised themselves in military uniforms and besieged the community and committed those murders. The men took cover and the Mamprusis cowardly carried out these heinous and barbaric crimes, which have not been investigated to date. We are informed that the military repeated this history by besieging the place in the wee hours of yesterday, without any vehicle.

The men mistaking them for Mamprusis sought to defend themselves this time around, and three soldiers were injured in the process and airlifted by a Military helicopter for medical attention in Accra. The soldiers then went on rampage since the dawn of yesterday, shooting everyone on sight. An unarmed man (Issahaku) was chased into his room and shot and his lifeless body was left in the room since no family member could go near the house for fear of being met with the same act of murder as meted to their brother. A 13-year-old boy who was running after his father who was taking cover was shot dead. A young lady who was trying to run away was also shot and left in a critical condition. Others were maimed and some are in critical conditions as well.

Effect of the military raid on the community in Buabula on Wednesday

Deep fear has gripped the community and people have abandoned the community at the time of this press release, for the simple reason that they can no longer trust the military to protect them. Those who have been shot and are critically ill in hospital needing blood transfusion and other forms of medical care from their relatives cannot find their relatives since they have virtually left the community,

The basis of our belief in the partiality and unprofessionalism of the military operation yesterday:

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we have a number of reasons to believe that the military in Bawku is not even-handed in their operations. Some of our beliefs are backed by evidence and others are inferred:

Social media sources associated with Mamprusis are awash with praises for Mr. Satiim Yiremia (the son of Mr. Sule Yiremia, a member of the Council of State) who is a Mamprusi for ensuring that the right military personnel have been sent to Bawku to cause harm to the Kusaasis. The said social media post reads as “thanks Satiim Yirimiah for sending proper military to handle those pigs the bandacut military who only obey Abugrago are gone”.

We would have dismissed these as unsubstantiated social media posts, but the influence of social media messages by Mamprusi sources, culminating in the ethnic conflict in Bawku since December last year, have taught us not to dismiss any social media message from their sources. We, therefore, believe that what happened yesterday is a confirmation of the social media message by the Mamprusi congratulating one Mr. Yirimea for influencing the selection of military of their (Mamprusi) preference to Bawku. Not surprisingly, we have seen in social media a Mamprusi military officer alleged to have been among the military who besieged Buabula yesterday. What kind of professionalism is this, if not that they are executing an agenda!

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The Regional Police Commander is on record to have openly said in Pusiga at the Chief Palace that, “the Kusaasis have crossed the red line” he drew for them hence he is going “to deal drastically with Kusaasis”. This has been manifested yesterday and today when the joint military and police detachment under the command of this same Regional Police Commander Stormed Highways and brutalised vandalized, stole and destroyed properties of women, traders and commuters including their vehicles. Videos and picture evidence of these brutalities and violation of the rights of these innocent citizens who are far from the epicentre of the conflict are there for all to see.

The Military’s high-handedness in handling the renewed violence was at full display yesterday March 16, 2022, at about 10:00 GMT when they stormed Buabula, a suburb of Bawku in Rambo style killing men, women, children, animals and burning houses in gross violation of Statutory Convention and practices on Peacekeeping.

Our suspicion is further accentuated by the observation by Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, the renowned peacebuilding icon who has contributed immensely to the peace-building efforts of the Bawku conflict. His social media post reads as follows:

“These stories coming out of Bawku where our Armed Forces are contributing to atrocities by shooting and killing civilians is utterly disturbing. Our Military is trained to uphold international standards of Peacekeeping with Human Rights approaches at the core. They understand very well that in any Peacekeeping mandate, the primary of their intervention’s integral to their mandates is the protection of Civilian lives. They cannot adhere to these Peacekeeping principles elsewhere in other countries and do the opposite at home in Ghana. The Military high command may want to consider personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces, likewise the IGP to deploy to Bawku, only serving personnel with the requisite training and neutral background. Again, it must be emphasised that for those exploiting ethnic cleavages in the inter-communal violence in Bawku, peacekeeping must understand, at first hand, the nature and dynamics of the violence. When Peacekeeping does not protect all the people but instead contributes to Military killing civilians, it could create the grounds for radicalisation and violent extremism. This is further exacerbated by Bawku sharing borders with two countries where terrorism continues to come too close to the shores of Ghana.”

Yesterday, 16th March 2022, at about 11:00 GMT the military and Police led by the Regional Police Commander-Upper East Region stormed the revered Pusiga Naba’s Palace in Pusiga District without any show of respect for traditional protocol, fired warning shots and searched the palace for arms and ammunition. Pusiga is not in Bawku, but the unprofessional military was probably relying on misinformation from the Mamprusis who have been warning the Pusiga Naba and threatening his life openly on social media, which the military paid deaf ears to these threats, but rather subjected the chief to this embarrassment. This level of disrespect to traditional authority based on misinformation without any shred of evidence cannot happen anywhere in Ghana. The military must know that disrespect for any traditional ruler in Kusaug amounts to disrespect for the Zugraan, the Bawku Naba, Abugrago Azoka II.

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Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we conclude as follows:

The people of Kusaag are now living in a state of fear since they can no longer distinguish between their enemies and the military. We demand the immediate removal of DCOP Dr. Saibu Pabi Gariba the Regional Police Commander for carrying through with his threats Captain Ekor Sagoe, Commanding Officer for the Military in Bawku and the Municipal Chief Executive Hon. Amadu Hamza for their open display of bias and gross disregard for human rights.

We further demand the immediate removal and prosecution of:

Yambor Raymond ABF – ID – 213505,

Suayam Emmanuel 6BN – ID – 213481, and

Jibril Nabil 6BN – ID – 212165

Staff Sergeant Baba Zibrilla, a station mechanic (LAD) at Bazua Camp

for killing and maiming of innocent civilians including women and children and the burning of houses at Buabula on March 16, 2022.

This is the second time this dastardly act of murdering women and children in Buabula community has been perpetuated. The people did not yet come to terms with the un-investigated 2008 atrocities when a similar thing befell them yesterday again. The state must not treat this as a light matter or one of those occurrences during conflict time but must offer material and psychological assistance to the community members. The family of the murdered child and the unarmed adults killed by the military must be compensated by the state, and the medical bills of those critically ill and maimed should be borne by the State and not swept under the carpet.

We also expect that future deployment of Security personnel to Bawku must be done taking into consideration their ethnic backgrounds and affiliations.

We demand an apology from the Security to the Pusiga Naba and the Zugran for causing fear and panic to the Pusiga Naba and his people who are not residents of Bawku.

We want to reiterate, to the understanding of the whole world that there is no chieftaincy issue in Bawku. The Bawku Naba is the gazetted paramount chief recognized by the state. The military and peacekeeping agencies should not make the mistake of treating Kusasis and Mamprusis like two ethnic groups clamouring for the paramountcy.

Even though we appreciate the efforts of the State in keeping peace in Bawku through the security personnel for which we are grateful, let it be known that we implore the military not to take our people for granted on their God-given land. The Mamprusis must understand that forever, they can no longer become chiefs in Kusaasi and (KUSAUG) no matter the number of tales they churn out.

To the military and police command hierarchy, we admonish you to use your professional wisdom in dealing with the Bawku situation. Do not allow yourselves to be influenced by any inducements against your conscience to do what will displease God. “The’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.” (Shakespeare).

Long Live Kusaag! Long Live Zug-Ran!! Long Live Kusaug Youth Movement!!!

Thank you for coming.

ABUGRI A HARUNA

PRESIDENT.

AYAABA APUNEN ADAMS

COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

Cc:

The Minister for Defence

Accra.

National Security Coordinator

Accra

National Peace Council

Accra./Northern Chapter

NIB-Accra

RESEC-UE/R

MUSEC-Kusaug Traditional Council, Bawku.

All Media Houses.

 

Read More News HERE.

Source: DailyNewsGhana.com/2022

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