Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has called for a ceasefire and the setting up of an independent mediation committee to resolve the Bawku conflict.
The Coalition, in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, expressed concern about the Bawku conflict and said they were deeply troubled about the recent happenings in relation to the conflict.
“We are deeply concerned about the high probability of the situation degenerating into a violent situation beyond the Bawku area,” it said.
“We are calling on all parties, including the Mamprusis and the Kusasis, to cease fire and resort to dialogue to ensure peace.”
They also called on the Government to urgently constitute an independent mediation committee to support existing processes to find a lasting resolution to the protracted conflict in Bawku in the Upper East Region.
The statement said as CSOs working in the area and on peace and security issues at various levels, they were cognisant of the protracted and complex nature of the Bawku conflict, as well as the political undertones that led to the conflict and trigger violence in the area every time.
It said they were aware of the various initiatives and processes that had been put in place to resolve the conflict.
It noted, however, that the recent happenings, threats of violence and the continuous agitation were indicative of the mistrust of both parties in existing or on-going processes to resolve conflict.
It said they were worried that recent government approaches to maintaining peace in the area appear uncoordinated, lack intelligence, and risk engendering violence.
It said they were dismayed about the innocent lives and properties that were lost to the conflict and its impact on the socio-economic livelihood of the people.
The statement said the Bawku town was gradually becoming a pale shadow of itself, as trading, education, health, and social service delivery had been negatively affected by the exodus of teachers, nurses, and businesses from the town.
It said they were particularly concerned that recent happenings in Bawku, if not urgently addressed, would further weaken human security indicators in the area and make the area more susceptible to terrorist and extremist recruitment and attacks, thereby endangering the whole country.
It said the conflict had a high potential to spill over to nearby communities and other cosmopolitan areas across Ghana.
The statement said they were equally worried about the proliferate use of arms and ammunition by civilians and by both sides of the Bawku conflict.
It said this made the situation in Bawku very precarious and volatile; adding that frequent reports of shootings and killings in the area were a very worrying phenomenon that once again threatened not just Bawku but the whole nation.
It said the Coalition of CSOs concerned about the Bawku conflict unequivocally condemn all violent attacks by any party to the conflict.
It said they were calling on all parties to the Bawku conflict to ceasefire, lay down their arms, and resort to dialogue to resolve the conflict and any matters arising.
It said in the interest of the people of Bawku and Ghana, they were calling on the leaders of both sides of the conflict and other stakeholders and parties not to use force and violence.
It said this would ensure lives and properties were saved and protected. We call particularly on the youth of both sides to calm down and use dialogue rather than violence.
The Coalition of CSOs include Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP-Ghana), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, NORSAAC and RISE GHANA.
The rest are Widows and Orphans Movement Ghana(WOM), Centre for Youth and Child Crisis Intervention (Cyccris Intervention), Institute of Security and Safety Policy Research- ISSAPR, National Network of Youth Group. 11. Muslim Family Counselling Services and United Force for Development (UF4D).