The recent killing of five people in Bawku by military personnel stationed in that town to maintain peace, law and order, is deeply alarming and requires an urgent, forceful response from the president of the land.
The arrest of three young men by the military, following a renewed conflict to an unknown location and shot to death in a mafia style execution, has expectedly stirred national outrage. This tragic incident is just one among many.
This is not the first time joy, has turned into grief in Bawku. On March 16, 2022, one person was shot dead, while three soldiers with the 11th Mechanized Infantry Battalion based in Bazua sustained injuries during a gunfight at Barbari-Buabula, a suburb of Bawku in the Upper East Region.
Again, on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at about 1 pm, eight other civilians were shot and killed by the military at the Songuri and Zougin communities. The deceased have been identified as Issah Kasim, Madi Mamudu, Mumuni Ndego, Issifu Karim, Eliasu Ayuma, Gafaru Sumaila, Kudus Haruna and Sumaila Adamu
There have been cycles of killings by the military with different triggers. The most common being exchange of fire. However, the recent incident, by the nature of the execution, shows that, the military personnel are on a frolic of their own. They have no regard for human life and dignity.
In a related development, a bus carrying about 45 students of the Presbyterian Nurses Training College, Bawku, has been attacked by two gunmen on motorbikes near Binduri in the Upper East region. A number of students who were injured due to the attack have been rushed to the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital for treatment.
As a newspaper, we align with the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku, Mahama Ayariga, who condemned the military’s actions and stressed the need for an explanation of the provocations that led to the shootings.
This newspaper calls for a lasting solution to be found to the conflict in Bawku, to avoid this cycle of violence that has sent thousands to an early grave and rendered many poor due to the destruction of their property and livelihoods.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, should know that his legacy is at stake. No matter how he performs in the economy and other areas, if he fails in addressing the crisis in Bawku, history will not be kind to him. Every other success pales in comparison to shedding of the innocent blood.
The citizens, civil society organizations, political parties, faith-based institutions and all other relevant stakeholders, have a role. But the urgency is clear: Ghana cannot withstand more innocent lives lost.
Decisive, multifaceted strategies to restore safety and stability are needed now. Leaders at both the federal and state level must make security a top priority.
With the increasing number of daylight execution by the military, at the least provocation, the time for action is long overdue. Ghana, must summon the will to protect its people, no matter where they are.