Mr. Speaker, once again with your kind permission, I would like to provide an update to this noble House on the communal clashes between the Kusasis and Mamprusis at Bawku and its environs which started on 31st December, 2007. This is in discharge of my responsibility under section 4 (3) of Act 491 -- The Public Order Act.
Latest Development -- Violent Incidents
Mr. Speaker, as you may recall, on 12th February 2008 during my briefing to this House on the conflict, I did indicate, among others, that by an Executive Instrument, Government had reimposed the dusk-to-dawn curfew on Bawku Municipality and its environs on 12th February, 2008 with the curfew hours being from 8.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, later on the same day (12th February, 2008), there was a resumption of violence between the two factions, which was occasioned by the alleged firing of an AK 47 rifle, by two unidentified gunmen at a mosque at Sabon-Geri, a suburb of Bawku, where a group of Muslims were offering prayers.
Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, no one was hit and when the Security Personnel arrived at the scene, they retrieved one live and twenty expended shells of AK
47 ammunition. Investigations into the incident are still ongoing and no arrest has yet been made.
Mr. Speaker, on the following day, 13th February 2008, the firing extended to other parts of Bawku and one male adult sustained serious injuries and was transported by air to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, where he is presently receiving treatment. Mr. Speaker, as a result of the resumption of hostilities, the curfew hours were changed to 5.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the latest hostilities that resumed on 12th February, 2008 has led to a catalogue of serious acts of violence, which include the following:
1. In the evening of 13th February, 2008, a group of people attacked and stabbed one person at Natinga, a suburb of Bawku but the timely intervention by the Police/Military Patrol team saved him from being lynched. The victim is presently on admission at the Bolgatanga Presbyterian Hospital.
2. On 13th February, 2008, during enforcement of the curfew, the Military Patrol team came under attack by unidentified group of people at Natinga, a suburb of Bawku, and succeeded in removing the magazine of a G3 raffle of one of the soldiers. Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, the magazine and its content (twenty live ammunitions) has since been retrieved and six (6) persons arrested have since been granted bail.
3. On 15th February 2008, Mr. Speaker, during curfew hours, a male adult who was travelling from Kulungugu to Bawku on a motorbike, was attacked and shot at by unidentified gunmen who took away his
motorbike in the process. The victim is presently on admission at the Bolgatanga Presbyterian Hospital and the suspects are still at large.
4. Again, Mr. Speaker, on the 15 th February 2008, upon a tip off, the security agencies searched a house at one of the Bawku suburbs and found one live G3 ammunition, military accu-trement and an axe, and it is suspected that these imple-ments were to be used in hostilities. One person who was arrested in the process has since been remanded in custody.
5. On 16th February 2008, there was a misunders tand ing between second year and third year students of the Bawku High School when they went to fetch water from a well but the Senior House Master of the school succeeded in resolving the matter. However, Mr. Speaker, on the following day, 17th February 2008, a student, from one ethnic group, allegedly pulled a locally-manufactured gun and shot at another student, from another ethnic group but missed him narrowly. The suspect is still at large with the weapon.
6. On 23rd and 24th February, 2008, six houses and a welding shop in the Bawku township respec- tively were set ablaze by an unidentified group of persons.
7. Finally, Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, 25th February, 2008, four houses at Sabon-Geri, one cargo truck and one pick-up of the Quality Medical Centre were set ablaze by unidentified
Mr. Speaker, it is nearly two months now since the outbreak of violence in the Bawku Traditional Area between the Kusasis and Mamprusis, and although Government, through the security agencies, with the support of the political and traditional leaders of the area, has succeeded in ensuring relative peace and tranquility in the area, the situation is still unstable as the above incidents demonstrate.
Mr. Speaker, the mounting tension in the community led to the closure of all first cycle schools in the Bawku township yesterday, 25th February, 2008 for a day.
Mr. Speaker, in view of the volatile nature of the situation, the Government, acting on the advice of the Upper East Regional Security Council (REGSEC), has decided to maintain the dust-to-dawn curfew on Bawku Municipality for as long as it is necessary. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, by an Executive Instrument, the curfew has been reimposed on Bawku Municipality yesterday, 25th February, 2008 with the curfew hours being from 5.00 p.m. to
Latest Development -- Efforts towards Peace
Mr. Speaker, since the outbreak of the violence, the Government has demon-strated, in no uncertain terms, its commitment towards bringing peace through whatever means possible. As part of this effort, the Upper East Regional Security Council, with the support of the leadership of the two factions and the MPs of the area, organized a reconciliatory meeting on 18th February 2008, which was attended by all the ethnic groups in the area, members of the Upper East Regional Security Council, Municipal and District Chief Executives, Members of Parliament from the area, religious leaders and other stakeholders.
Mr. Speaker, the focus of the meeting was on how to bring the hostilities and violence to an immediate end and build