Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission, and on behalf of the Government, I would like to provide an update on the communal clashes between the Kusasis and Mamprusis at Bawku and its environs to this noble House by making the following statement. It is also in fulfilment of my obligations under Act 471.
2. Latest Development
Mr. Speaker, since my last Statement on the floor of this House on the crisis of 31st December 2007, I am pleased to report that we have been able to maintain law and order in the area as a result of the presence of the security agencies and the commitment demonstrated by
the leaders of the two groups, chiefs and political leaders, particularly, the hon. Members of Parliament (MPs) of the area. Government, therefore, would like to, once again, thank all these people for cooperating with the Government to achieve this relative normalcy in the area.
However, Mr. Speaker, despite the relative peace and stability in the area, five main incidents of security importance have occurred since my last Statement to the House, and I consider it appropriate to bring them to the attention of the House whilst at the same time letting you know what is being done to ensure justice.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, one more person has died as a result of the conflict, and this brings to eleven (11) the total number of people who have lost their lives since the outbreak of the violence. The latest victim was allegedly murdered by an unidentified group of people at a place between Sabon-Geri and Sagabo, a suburb of Bawku on 5th February, 2008.
The body, which was initially deposited at the Bolgatanga Government Hospital, has since been released to the family for interment after performing the necessary autopsy on him. The case is still being investigated by the security agencies under the leadership of the Upper East Police Command.
Mr. Speaker, on 5th February 2008, the Upper East Police Command arrested three persons who were in possession of five hundred and one (501) packets of cartridges with the total of eleven thousand, one hundred and seventy-five (11,175) units.
Mr. Speaker, subsequent Police investigations led to the arrest of the main suspect in Kumasi who claimed ownership of the cartridges but indicated that the three suspects initially arrested had no knowledge of the contents of the
consignment that they were transporting. Accordingly, the Police granted the three suspects Police enquiry bail whilst the main suspect was put before court yesterday, 11th February 2008 and has been remanded in custody to reappear on 25th February 2008.
Mr. Speaker, again on the 2nd and 4th of February, 2008 respectively, the alertness of the security agencies led to the arrest of two persons, who were in possession of two locally-manufactured pistols. One of them was arrested at the Binduri Police check point whereas the other one was arrested at Missiga during curfew hours. The two suspects have since been sent to court and have been remanded in custody to reappear on 20th February, 2008.
Mr. Speaker, a house at Possum, a suburb of Bawku, was burnt down by unidentified group of persons who are presently at large. Mr. Speaker, the timely intervention by personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service helped in limiting the extent of the damage. The security agencies are still investigating the incident.
Mr. Speaker, finally the 22 persons initially arrested in connection with the disturbances, appeared in court on 31st January, 2008 and they were again remanded in prison custody to reappear on 20th February. The Police have been requested to speed up their investigations to ensure justice.
Mr. Speaker, Security Intelligence reports indicate that although the Bawku Municipality and its environs have remained relatively peaceful, the situation still remained tense amongst the different ethnic groups as a result of increased mistrust. The latest incidents attest to this fact.