Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has depicted Bawku, a border town currently entangled in a bloody conflict in the Upper East region, as an “alluring magnet” for “mischief makers and extremists” operating in nearby countries.  

The chieftaincy-related armed conflict in the town, which is located in close proximity to Burkina Faso and Togo, has claimed countless lives and caused destruction to property recurrently for many years.

The intensity of the skirmishes recorded in recent times has seen increased but unsuccessful attempts by key stakeholders to restore calm in the area.

Bawku was once widely considered a strong business hub following in the footsteps of Techiman, a town in Ghana’s Bono East region, in terms of expansion rate.

President Akufo-Addo.

But touching on the country’s current security situation during his last-but-one State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo noted that Bawku had been downgraded to “a wasteland”.

“Mr Speaker, I must make special mention of the troubles in Bawku. The tragedy is not only that a thriving and dynamic town is being reduced to a wasteland of destruction and distrust, we are spending money and energy that would have been better spent on development needs of Bawku, providing security to keep brothers and sisters from killing each other.

“Mr Speaker, what should concern all of us and not just the people of Bawku is that, in its current state, Bawku is an alluring magnet to mischief makers and extremists operating a few kilometres across from the border. In the bid to find a lasting solution to the conflict, Government has, in the past year, undertaken a number of measures, including the establishment of a special Bawku Taskforce, and the intensification of engagements with the factions for the resolution of the chieftaincy dispute,” said the president.

The Minority Wing of Parliament at the SONA gathering on Tuesday.

While recounting a number of measures he said his government had taken to manage and resolve the protracted conflict, the president also said government was determined to ensure that “every inch” of Ghana’s territory was secure.

“On the recommendation of the Upper East Regional and National Security Councils, four radio stations, that have been broadcasting incendiary language and propagating hate speech, have been shut down by the National Communications Authority. The Chief Justice has also recently established specialised Courts in Accra and in Kumasi to deal expeditiously with criminal matters emanating from the Bawku conflict.

The Majority Wing of Parliament at the SONA gathering on Tuesday.

“Government is determined to do all it can to ensure there is security in every inch of the territory of our country, but it also is very much up to the citizens to help create the needed atmosphere, and I am, thus, appealing to all citizens to take the See Something, Say Something campaign of the Ministry of National Security very seriously,” he stated.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


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