By Arnold Neliba
BWAKU, FEBRUARY 10, 2023 (CISA)-With the protracted conflict in Bwaku in the country’s upper east region and the influx of refugees from the neighbouring Burkina Faso, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has warned that these events risk putting further pressure on the already impoverished and beleaguered communities.
“We call on the government and most especially state institutions mandated to deal with migrants and displaced people to step up their humanitarian response to the situation in and around Bawku to avert further suffering inflicted on the population of the area,” reads a statement signed by Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, President of GCBC.
The bishops reiterated appeals to the government to urgently use all the resources at its disposal to ensure that a lasting solution is found to the protracted conflict in Bawku, which they described as a ghost town.
“This influx could become a breeding ground for the infiltration of terrorist groups operating in neighbouring countries,” they said while urging the government to empower the national security apparatus to ensure the non-infiltration of terrorist groups into the country.
The prelates, however, in commending the progress and work of the security forces in the region also appealed to them to exercise restraint in the use of their firearms so as not to engage in the indiscriminate killing of citizens.
“We also urge them to desist from some of the inhumane treatment and brutalities being meted out to innocent citizens of Bawku. At all costs we must avoid actions that will result in reprisal effects from aggrieved people,” they implored.
The Catholic bishops praised the multi-faceted approach by the National and the Regional Peace Councils and other participants who are cooperating to find a solution to the Bawku conflict and urged them to continue engaging the parties involved.
“We appeal to the factions involved in the Bawku conflict, as well as all other stakeholders, such as the traditional leaders, faith groups, the print and the electronic media, natives and non-indigenes, political party groups and the international community, to do everything possible to help the process of peace-building for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Bawku and for the peace of Ghana,” it added.
The conflict in the Bawku area between the Kusasis and Mamprusis ethnic groups has been a long-standing war since independence. It is said to be about chieftaincy and land ownership. The perennial and unresolved bad blood between the two ethnic groups triggers incidents which lead to sometimes deadly conflicts.