Regional News Mon, 15 Jan 2018

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Euphoria grips Agogo as police, military begin operations

Some police and military personnel have been deployed to Agogo to protect residents

Residents of Agogo are ecstatic over deployment of police-military reinforcement to flush out nomadic herdsmen and their cattle from the area.

Many people lined up on the streets out of joy to cheer the security personnel up on arrival.

The deployment follows a Joy News Hotline documentary “Violent Shepherds”, a seven-month investigative piece which highlighted what has become national security issue.

From Agogo in Ashanti, Kwahu East in Eastern, Kintampo and Berekum in Bono Ahafo Ashanti, Eastern and Bono Ahafo Regions farmers and other residents have endured pain.

Loss of lives, sexual abuse, and destruction of crops are among ordeal visited on local by nomadic herdsmen.

The arrival of the police-military team in Agogo means relief, especially, for farmers who had been restrained from going to farm following gun attack on the Operation Cowleg team.

Three military officers and a policeman who were responding to a distress call from a woman whose farm was being destroyed were ambushed and shot at by armed herdsmen.

Operations of the 248 personnel will cover land and air surveillance, aided by three Ghana Air Force helicopters.

Residents, some of whom were seeing a helicopter for the first time, besieged the Agogo State College airfield to catch a glimpse of the team.

Take-off by one of the aircraft saw a chaotic scene as clouds of dust covered the atmosphere.

It however did little to scare the excited crowd which was anxious to see what was next as residents line up by the roadside to cheer the team up in ecstasy.

Residents of Agogo have every reason to be happy.

Repeated killing of natives and nomadic herdsmen in repeated clashes since 2011 plunged the area into insecurity.

Many of them have lost their livelihoods.

Krontihene of Agogo, Nana Kwame Nti is among the elated residents.

“We are experiencing something new. There’s a helicopter monitoring the movement of herdsmen and their cattle. The herdsmen know their days are numbered. Indeed this government is our saviour,” he said in ecstasy.

He continued, “The support we are enjoying today is unprecedented.

I can rest peacefully if f I die today because there is peace in Agogo.”

Member of Parliament for Asante Akim North, Andy Appiah-Kubi, is hopeful the exercise would be a one-stop attempt to push-out herdsmen from Agogo land.

“We have seen operations in the past and there appears to be a trend of every year we celebrate an anniversary of the previous.

I want to believe that this is the finality of all such anniversaries.”

There are, however, concerns about sustainability of the exercise to bring lasting relief to people of Agogo.

But the District Chief Executive who also chairs the District Security Committee Francis Oti-Boateng says the exercise will be sustained.

“The men [police-military team] are going to be here as long as the Fulanis are also here. So until they leave, we are not going to allow them operate on our land.

I can assure you in two weeks, you will see no cattle or Fulaniman on our land”

Source: Ohemeng Tawiah

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