Violent extremism: Security Analyst describes Bawku as Ghana’s “weakest link”

Social Bawku Conflict
Social Bawku Conflict

Mr Adib Saani, a Security Analyst, has described Bawku as Ghana’s “weakest link” in the fight against violent extremism.

He has, therefore, advised Government to address the fundamental causes of the conflict there to restore peace.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Friday, Mr Saani said the implementation of ad hoc measures, such as the imposition of curfews, banning the use of motorbikes, wearing of fugu, amongst others, would not accomplish much in addressing the conflict.

“The possibility of terrorist elements taking advantage of the situation in Bawku to creep into the country is very high. Bawku has become a semi lawless society as a result. Criminal elements will thrive, including those engaged in the trafficking of weapons and humans.

“Armed robbers are also having a field’s day because investigation is almost zero. Bawku, I must say imposes a serious threat to the security of the nation because the conflict has the potential of widely spreading into other parts of the area, including Wale Wale and Gambaga and other parts of the country even in Kumasi and Accra because we have a considerable, number of Mamprusi and Kusasi population in all these parts,” he said.

Mr Saani, also the Executive Director, Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, said if care was not taken, more people from different ethic groups might get caught up in the conflict and complicate matters.

“The issue is really disturbing. And lately, those getting killed in the area are neither Mamprusi nor Kusasi. Recently, two Fulanis were killed, some Busangas got caught, the Moshes and the rest. If care is not taken, we might have all these people becoming part of the conflict, that would complicate it further.”

He noted that the conflict had negatively affected investment in the area, businesses closed and many people had moved to Accra.

“Poverty is rising and school enrollment is very low. They open schools today, tomorrow it is closed because of the fighting. Tourism has also been affected.”

Mr Saani urged the Government to deal with the proliferation of small arms and large weapons into Bawku.

He advised the citizens to always use dialogue in settling disputes and not resort to violence.

“We should understand that conflict doesn’t help. It leads to underdevelopment and affects all aspects of society. Human insecurity becomes the order of the day. People would not be able to access basic necessities of life.

“School enrollment will be low. There will be no jobs, especially for the youth. There will be no access to drinking water, health, sanitation, etc. Conflict is not the way to go but dialogue is extremely key to moving on.”

The deployment of heavy security presence has restored relative calm to the Bawku Municipality after days of sporadic shooting in the last few weeks, leading to the loss of many lives.

The death toll continue to rise as more people are fleeing to other parts of the country, meanwhile, there is a strong call for urgent Government intervention.

Calls have also been made for Government to adopt the approach used in solving the Dagbon case – dialogue initiated by prominent kings and chiefs – for the Bawku conflict.

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