General News Wed, 12 Mar 2008

Stop the killings, CSOs appeal to Bawku factions

Accra, March 12, GNA- Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) involved in the Bawku Peace Initiative, on Wednesday appealed to factions in the Bawku dispute to stop the killings in the community.

They said it was not possible to evolve a strategic plan that would engage all stakeholders to dialogue when the killings were continuing. In a statement issued through the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), signed by Mr Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director of the Network, the CSOs recalled that they supported and facilitated dialogue efforts which resulted in mutual agreements of the main ethnic groups to build peace through a joint communiqu=E9 following the escalation of violence in 2000 and 2001.

It noted that the re-escalation of violence from December 31, 2007 to January 3, 2008 has persisted with unprecedented levels of killings and burning of personal property with impunity.

The statement said while the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council and security agencies were deploying all the necessary efforts to restore calm and order, the continued killings in Bawku and its surrounding areas made it impossible to build the minimum trust and confidence required to engage in peace building efforts. It said "The coalition of CSOs in the Bawku Peace Initiative through WANEP make this urgent appeal to all the people of Bawku and particularly the active combatants engaged in violence and destruction to stop the killings.

"While the coalition of CSOs is committed to fully engage in peacebuilding activities to compliment the efforts of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council and the government to restore peace in the medium term, it is not possible to evolve a comprehensive strategic plan that will engage all stakeholders to dialogue when the killings continue."

The CSOs also appealed to all who have any influence in Bawku including political, religious and opinion leaders to make urgent efforts "to appeal to the conscience of the youths in Bawku to stop the killings".

The Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday extended the curfew following the shooting death of two people Bawku.

The two men, Lawal Muntala, 44 and Sulemana Moro, 44, were killed at the outskirts of the town, about four kilometres away from the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital.

The Minister of the Interior on the advice of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) by Executive Instrument extended the imposition of curfew in Bawku to Pusiga, Zabugu, Binduri and Zoosi with immediate effect.

The curfew will start from 1500 hours and end 0700 hours each day, a press release signed by Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of The Interior, said.

It said the extension of the curfew to these towns and their environs had been necessitated by the spread of violent clashes in the Bawku Municipality to these towns.

The release said: "The Military and Police presence is being beefed up in these areas as is being done in the Bawku area. "The Government will like to remind the public that the ban on all persons in the Bawku Municipal Area, Pusiga, Binduri, Zoosi and Zabugu Townships and their environs from carrying arms, ammunition or any offensive weapon still remains in force and any person found with any arms or ammunition will be arrested and prosecuted.

"The Government continues to appeal to all the factions to exercise restraint whilst Government looks at ways to bring peace to the area."

Source: GNA