The Catholic Bishops say the protracted conflict in the region bordering Burkina Faso "has resulted in the loss of precious lives and the wanton destruction of property."
The Mamprusi and Kusasi people have been fighting for years. According to Project MUSE 2014 study, at the heart of the old age conflict is a collection of issues over the ownership of land. Members of both communities claim ownership of Bawku.
In the statement shared with ACI Africa, Ghana’s Catholic Bishops say the insecurity in the Bawku region and its environs is “compounded by the recent influx of refugees from Burkina Faso into the area thus putting further pressure on the already impoverished and beleaguered communities welcoming these refugees seeking a safe haven.”
“This influx could become a breeding ground for the infiltration of terrorist groups operating in neighboring countries,” they say.
GCBC members also call on the Ghanaian government and State institutions responsible for looking at the welfare of 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.”
“At the same time, we urge the Government to empower the National Security apparatus to ensure the non-infiltration of terrorist groups into the country,” they say.
While commending the security personnel operating in Bawku for working towards the restoration of peace, the Catholic Bishops also urge the officers “to be more professional and circumspect in the discharge of their duties and be measured in the use of their firearms so as not to kill innocent people.”
Security personnel also need to “desist from some of the inhumane treatment and brutalities being meted out to innocent citizens of Bawku,” Catholic Bishops in Ghana say.
“At all costs, we must avoid actions that will result in reprisal effects from aggrieved people,” they say, and appeal to parties in conflict “to do everything possible to help the process of peace-building for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Bawku area and for the peace of Ghana.”
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.