The Bawku Municipality effective November 24, 2021, has been under curfew imposed by the Ministry of Interior on the advice of the Upper East Regional Council.
The Minister for Interior, Ambrose Dery in a statement issued on Wednesday said the curfew was to take effect the same day from 4:00 pm to 6:00 am each day.
The minister, in his statement, disclosed that the imposition of the curfew on Bawku and its environs was a result of threat of insecurity in the affected communities.
Further to the directive, the Minister, while urging leaders of the affected communities to exercise restraint in confronting their challenges, announced a total ban on carrying of arms, ammunition and offensive weapons by any individual within the affected communities.
“Government calls on the Chiefs, Elders, Opinion Leaders, Youth and people of the area to exercise restraint in the face of the challenges confronting them as well as to use non-violent means to channel their energies into ensuring peace.
“Meanwhile, there is a total ban on all persons in the afore-mentioned communities and their environs from carrying arms, ammunition or any offensive weapons and any persons found with any arms or ammunition will be arrested and prosecuted,” the minister further directed.
Ban of smocks
Subsequent to the minister’s announcement, the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council announced a ban on the wearing of smock – a major cultural identity of the people in the part of Ghana.
According to the REGSEC, the decision is based on intelligence and experience from the past where people have hidden weapons under the smocks and gone on to successfully commit crimes.
“Following the decision taken by REGSEC during the emergency meeting, the wearing of smock in Bawku Township has been banned with immediate effect. This was necessitated by the fact that criminals or unscrupulous elements hide arms and ammunition in smocks and attack opponents or innocent civilians,” a portion of a statement from the Council read.
Meanwhile security and safety analyst, Adam Bonaa has attributed the current development in Bawku and its environs to factors including a longstanding chieftaincy and land tenure dispute as well as pure criminality.
Describing the imposition of curfew as a short-term measure to ensuring peace in Bawku, Mr Bonaa in an interview with GhanaWeb has called on government to mediate between the feuding factions.
The security analyst is also urging security agencies in the country to ramp up intelligence gathering as a way of proactively dealing with security threats within the Bawku areas.
“Let’s have a situation where our ability to gather intelligence and proactively use the intelligence to quell some of these things before they start, it is very important.
“Let’s have solid intelligence on the ground. It shouldn’t be as and when situations get out of hand we send uniformed men there. It should rather be that we have intelligence officers there permanently working and picking information, ensuring same,” Adam Bonaa said.
On the issue of dialogue, he further stated that “the root causes of these conflicts must be dealt with from the root base. There are those who are also benefiting from this conflict and I call them ‘conflictpreneurs’. Theirs is that the more there is conflict the more they benefit. They are people who sell illicit firearms and so if the conflict is stopped, they won’t be able to sell their firearms.
“I want to see a situation where the people involved in this in terms of criminally fanning this conflict are arrested and prosecuted by law and those who disagree purely based on law or chieftaincy or tradition are brought to a roundtable to dialogue,” he said.