Home > General News > Cop Stripped Naked: As 3 Killed In Bawku

Cop Stripped Naked: As 3 Killed In Bawku

Cletus Avoka

Cletus Avoka

The fragile lull in the border town of Bawku in the Upper East Region has given way to smoking guns, with a policeman stripped naked and his service rifle taken away by unruly youth of Binduri, a suburb of the town.

The intensified firing of sophisticated weapons on both sides of the marked divide in the municipality, said to have claimed three lives and injured seven, was preceded a couple of days ago by a disagreement between the youth of the suburb and their chief over the organization of a musical night. The chief ordered that the musical jamboree be stopped immediately because, according to him, the curfew which was in place was being breached and besides western culture, epitomized by the playing of foreign music, was undermining traditional culture. When the youth refused to budge, the chief called in the police, who responded by sending a squad of policemen to the scene.  The youth, who would not be cowed by the presence of the policemen, ensured that one policeman did not return to the barracks. So out of seven security agents sent to Binduri to bring peace, only six returned to base.  When a search was conducted, the policeman was found taking refuge in the chief’s palace but stripped of his uniform and his service rifle. The chief promised to retrieve the weapon as at yesterday but it appeared he was unable to make good his pledge. The policeman returned to barracks in borrowed apparel and without his rifle.  By Sunday evening, the simmering trouble gave way to a full-fledged exchange of fire by the feuding factions, continuing into Monday morning, as security agents shuttled back and forth to restore a semblance of normalcy. When DAILY GUIDE spoke to a source in the town, intermittent firing of small arms could be heard in the background and it was feared there could be casualties in the renewed clashes. The firing started at about 7.45pm on Sunday night from the Bawku Naba’s palace area of Kpelwega and Gingana and the fire was returned from North Natinga and Tosun areas, which are Mossi-dominated parts of the troubled town. The DAILY GUIDE source said the Kusasis were trying to cross the buffer zone and enter the other part of the town.  At about 4.00am yesterday, soldiers led, by one Captain Frank, were going round houses and conducting searches. An armoured car, according to DAILY GUIDE sources, was engaged in an effort to restore calm in the town but the intermittent firing continued. Other reports also claimed that a constituency election by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) resulted in grumbling among a section of the party supporters following the return to office of the incumbent Alhaji Issifu, the man whose son is being held for being part of an alleged guerilla training programme in Bawku. Police in the town are searching for two gunmen who allegedly shot and missed a man in the Azanga suburb of the municipality. The suspects missed their target after laying ambush for him. The lucky man told the media that he saw two men while on his way to the cattle market and not feeling comfortable by their appearance, he took to his heels and they gave him a chase as they fired indiscriminately. He finally sought refuge at the Bawku Police Station. Surprisingly, the Upper East Regional Minister, Mark Wayongo, has pointed a finger at government for being the cause of the renewal of hostilities.

 

According to him, the delay by government in implementing proposals submitted to it towards resolving the crisis is solely responsible for the situation. Continuing, he said when hostilities started this year, the Regional Security Council made a number of proposals to the authorities in Accra but these have not been considered yet.

“The policemen on the ground complained that they don’t have live (protective) jackets so anytime there is an incident like that, they take to their heels. It’s only the soldiers who are very daring.  They are able to come to terms with the situation and I believe they are the people who are keeping the peace in the area. It is not as if we’re not proactive, but there are limitations…the problems that the security men are confronted with … until those concerns are addressed we’ll continue to have this sporadic shooting incidents,” he told a Joy FM reporter yesterday. Bawku is an old commercial centre attracting traders from both Burkina Faso and Togo, but the age-old disagreement between the Kusasis and their Mamprusi and Mossi counterparts have turned homicidal over the years. Politics appears to have worsened the situation, with the feuding factions pitching camp with the two dominant political parties.  There is a permanent military presence in Bawku provided by the Airborne Force from Tamale, the maintenance of which is said to be an expensive venture, sapping so much from the government kitty. Other reports also claimed that the current state of confusion started on Friday when a policeman on operations in the town was hit by a bullet from a gang of unidentified persons at Azanga near the Kariama Cattle Market. Shortly after the gunshot, another eyewitness said it was one of the usual tricks thieves deploy to scare people away from the cattle market to enable them steal cattle or other animals on market days.

The Ministry of the Interior, in response to the degenerating security situation, reviewed the curfew timing in the municipality from 2.00pm to 6.00am.  This was contained in a statement issued by the Information Minister, Zita Okaikoi, which explained that the decision was taken in consultation with the Upper East Regional Security Council.

“The curfew is meant to protect life and property in the area and also enable the security agencies to deploy more troops on the ground to enhance security operations in the Bawku township,” the statement captured, adding that the curfew would be reviewed based on the situation in the area when it expires today.

Source: modernghana

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