Regional News of 2014-09-03

Small Arms Commission to mediate Bawku crisis

The Small Arms Commission says the only approach to getting the people of Bawku to surrender their weapons is to persuade them.

Bawku has been a hotbed of ethnic and chieftaincy violence mainly from the Mamprusis and Kusasis.

But the latest violence in the area which claimed three lives is said to be an isolated incident with no ethnic underpinnings.

Several efforts to have them lay down their weapons have proven futile with some of the residents saying they “lack confidence in the security agencies."

Executive Secretary of the Small Arms Commission, Jones Aplerh told Joy News that even though the call by the Interior Minister, Mark Woyongo for the residents to return their weapons for cash was in the right direction, the necessary thing to do now “is how the actors and players in the arena can take this message to the people to make the exercise successful.”

As a commission, he noted that is what it would be embarking on. “The step is to try and speak to people’s minds; try to persuade people” to achieve positive results.

Mr. Aplerh pointed out that in this sense, the feuding factions would realize that the abuse and proliferation of arms would rather endanger the peaceful co-existence of the people in the area.

“It always surprises us why people resort to weapons as a means of settling scores. It has never worked anywhere in the world,” he emphasized.

According to him, where fighting breaks out in any part of the world, the aggrieved parties settle by way of mediation and not through the use of weapons.

He continued that it was very dangerous and not a pleasant experience for people to settle disputes using weapons.

“It is so dangerous; it’s not good for the society; it’s not good for anybody; it’s not good for the nation.”

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