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General News Sat, 9 May 2009

Minister urges Bawku residents to expose criminals

Bawku (UE), May 9, GNA- Mr. Cletus Avoka, Minister of Interior at the weekend asked the people of Bawku Municipality to expose criminals in their communities because they were becoming a hindrance to the peace process.

Such criminals, he said should be reported to the Police, to be dealt with according to the law.

The Minister made the statement when he toured Bawku to assess the conflict situation and to see how far the activities undertaken by the Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee that was inaugurated recently in the area had progressed.

He noted that it was wrong for communities in Bawku to shield criminals and said it was one of the major factors undermining the peace process in the area.

He expressed dismay about the incident which occurred in Bawku on April 30 where some armed robbers exploited the conflict situation and fired guns on a market day to enable them to steal cattle during the ensuing confusion and said the criminals had not been found because the people were shielding them.

Mr. Avoka warned the people in Bawku who were disturbing the peace process to desist from that act since the culture of impunity would not be countenanced, saying, "We need to instill discipline in ourselves. If we cannot discipline ourselves, we have to use the law to discipline ourselves." He appealed to the security agencies to effectively enforce the law to help bring peace in the area. He advised the people in the area who were spreading lies and casting insinuations at people in relation to the conflict to stop as that could cause violence.

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He expressed dissatisfaction at the current state of Bawku, saying that, it used to be the economic capital of Ghana in the 1970s and 1980s and encouraged the Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee to work diligently to help find an amicable solution to the problem, adding that, it was not too late to boost the economic condition in the area.

He expressed regret that monies that could have been used for infrastructure development in the area and to sponsor students, to improve upon the human resource base were rather used for peace-keeping and asked the trouble causers to ponder over that and change for the interest of the area.

Mr. Avoka noted that the Government would have liked to lift the Curfew to enable farmers crop their farms since the farming season was about to start and appealed to the People to convince the authorities that there would be no problems if the restriction is relaxed. The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, reiterated the need for the committee members to discharge their duties effectively by following the terms of reference.

He expressed optimism that with the calibre of the Committee members they would be able to perform their task well to bring peace to the area.

The Bawku Municipal Chief Executive, Mr., Musah Abdulai, assured the Committee that the assembly would give them the necessary assistance by providing logistics for them to undertake their activities.

Source: GNA
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