Investigate alleged killing of six persons by military in Bawku – MPs

Six Members of Parliament from the Bawku traditional area are demanding an investigation into circumstances leading to the military allegedly killing 6 innocent civilians in Bawku.

The lingering Bawku conflict has led to several lives lost with the area becoming unsafe to live in.

Addressing the press in parliament, convener of the 6 MPs Forum, Cletus Avoka demanded the Ministers of Defence and Interior investigate this incident and bring the perpetrators to book.

He said “The facts are that on Tuesday night i.e 31st January 2023, there was sporadic shooting in several parts of Bawku. These shootings however ceased by 6:00am yesterday.

“The Soldiers on peacekeeping decided to patrol as they normally do. Then they got to a suburb of Bawku called Zorgen and saw some young men working in their dry season garden.

“They rounded these unarmed and harmless men together, opened fire on them and killed six (6) of them instantly. They also chased a small boy who ran into a millet ban, but they still shot him in the ban, whereby the ban caught fire and burnt the boy to ashes.

“Similarly, they shot at a woman who was also in the vicinity and broke her hand. She is currently on admission. They had earlier last week also shot and killed two people at Patelmi. We submit that the killings by the Soldiers was uncalled for, it is barbaric and unprofessional.”

They added “We demand that: The Minister of Defence and the Minister for Interior investigate this incident and bring the unprofessional perpetrators to book. The good name of the military is being soiled by this unprofessional conduct. Compensate the victims’ families.

“This conduct also defeats the purpose of peace keeping. They rather seem to be the aggressors rather than peace makers. The Soldiers cannot deny responsibility and as they have not seized arms or weapons from the victims. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is also recalled that sometime last year the Soldiers and Police in Bawku also embarked on an unwarranted attack and killing of civilians in a village called Buabula, a suburb of Bawku, Here, they shot and killed some people, burnt some houses, food bans, vehicles, motor cycles and etc.

“We the six (6) Members of Parliament from the Kusaug Traditional Area visited the affected village and saw things for ourselves. They also went out of their way to harass the Pusiga Chief by searching his palace but saw or recovered nothing incriminating. Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the conflict in Bawku since November 2021, several security measures have been put in place but these measures seem not to be working. They include: Peace Keeping Curfew.
“Ban on riding motors. Ban on wearing smocks and etc. These measures have failed. Government needs to adopt other strategies to bring peace to Bawku. More intelligence gathering and inroads. Need for political will, commitment on the part of Government to address the issue. Change the security on the ground from time to time. Do proper vetting of those assigned to Bawku to weed out interested persons. What is the conflict about? What are they fighting for, chieftaincy! But there is no chieftaincy dispute in Bawku. The Bawku Naba is the paramount chief having been so enskinned in 1984. Registered with the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs Registered with the National House of Chiefs Gazetted as such in 1986

“The last attempt to destool him by the Mamprusi was in 2003 when they filed a writ against him in the Supreme Court. But when the case was called for hearing the Mamprusis and they realized that they had no good case, they applied to the court to discontinue their action. The Supreme Court granted the application to discontinue but without liberty to bring any action against the Bawku Naba again on the Bawku chieftaincy matter – under PNDC Law 75 or the 1992 Constitution Articles 270 and 277. This was twenty years ago so in effect there is no chieftaincy problem again in Bawku.

“The Mamprusis are only disrespecting and disregarding the due process of law and hence these needles conflict. It is the duty of the Government of the day to have the political will and commitment to make sure that the rule of law and due process in this matter is upheld, respected and works.

“No man should be above the law. So even though we sympathize with the security personnel on the ground for their sacrifices, we condemn their excesses, inhuman acts and unprofessionalism they exhibit sometimes.”

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