Anchoring Democracy Advocacy Movement Ghana ADAM-GH, a Civil Society Organization has expressed concern over the deployment of the military to Bawku and the unprofessional conduct of some elements within its rank, leading to the death of innocent civilians, including women and a 12-year old boy.
According to the group, the recent shootings in Bawku, were done by soldiers who are well known in the community. They shot and killed two persons and left five others injured.
The Executive Secretary of ADAM-GH, Asubila Emmanuel Salam, revealed that the three military officers, who are currently on admission at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, got attacked after the residents observed that they were not in their community to maintain law and order, but rather to kill them, set fire to their houses and kill their livestock.
Speaking in an interview with an Accra based radio station, Class FM, Mr Salam, accused the soldiers deployed to Bawku of taking sides, attacking and killing persons from the Kusasi tribe, living in Buabula also known as Sabugari.
He explained that, the deployment of military personnel belonging to one of the ethnic groups fighting in Bawku, angered the community members to retaliate.
Mr Salam, alleged that the evidence available to ADAM-GH, suggests that those military attacks mostly had Mamprusi among them and were attacked because of suspicious characters that suggest that they were not acting as peacekeepers, but parties to the conflict.
ADAM-GH, advocates for proper democratic principles, ensures good governance, promotes the rule of law and protects fundamental human rights.
According to Salam “Peacekeepers are supposed to protect lives and properties but unfortunately, these soldiers were chasing the community members with serious gunfire targeting human beings while the community members were running for their lives, these soldiers were burning houses in the community, shooting and killing cows”.
He claimed that the same community suffered a similar incident on Sunday, June 22, 2008, during a conflict where persons in military uniform that time stormed the same area slaughtered women and children including a pregnant woman.
“With this previous bitter experience coupled with the suspicious actions of the military, the men in the community decided to return from their exile to face the soldiers and lo and behold here we are that those soldiers were Mamprusis by tribe fighting for their tribe’s men in Bawku using state resources”, Mr Asubila Salam added.
He questioned that rationale behind the bringing in a new Police Commander and the Military Commander to Bawku and their interest in the conflict, and noted that since they came, their actions and inactions show that they are rather in to fuel the conflict in the area and not to bring peace.
Mr Salam, claimed that all the ten military officers who were deployed there were all from the Mamprusi tribe and they were sent there on an agenda and called on the Chief of Defense Staff investigate the deployment of those military officers to the area and make public the reason behind the skewed deployment.
He asked that the Defense Minister must also come out and explain the reason behind the one-sided deployment.
He condemned the situation likening it to an Ashantis and Bono conflict where Bono soldiers to Ashanti enclave to kill children and burn houses.
He therefore appealed to the Military high command to take off the Commander in charge of the deployment in Bawku immediately and also withdraw military officers who are parties to the conflict.
He stated that as a CSO, it is their interest and the collective interest of all Ghanaians to protect the hard won integrity and morale of Ghana Armed Forces as an institution, even if the current crop of soldiers’ actions shows otherwise.
“If our Security in Ghana are now recruiting criminals, Armed Robbers as what happened recently in the Police SWAT and using the security to fight tribal conflicts, and used as intimidatory machinery for political benefits, then every Ghanaian including genuine security personnel should be worried about the future of our security”. He added.
Mr Salam encouraged the Military high command, to consider personnel of the GAF to deploy vis-à-vis their requisite training to Bawku, to serve in the interest of the nation not to the interest of some self-scented people.
He emphasized that exploiting ethnic cleavages in the inter-communal violence in Bawku, peacekeeping must be understood first hand, the nature and dynamics of the violence.
The Executive Secretary of ADAM-GH, added that when peacekeeping does not protect all the people but instead contributes to Military killing civilians, it could create the grounds for radicalization and violent extremism.