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Regional News Fri, 3 Mar 2006

Fulani herdsmen invade pilot farms

Kugrasia (UER) March 3, GNA- Fulani herdsmen and their cattle have invaded and destroyed a ten-hectare vegetable farm under a government sponsored pilot project along the white Volta at Kugrasia, in the Garu-Tempane district of the Upper East region.

The project, which began with a $10 million pumping machine and accessories to encourage dry-season farming, was to be replicated in other communities along riverbanks in the district.

The destruction has rendered 50 farmers on the project unemployed as well as depriving them of their investments.

Estimated cost was said to run into hundreds of millions cedis. Conducting newsmen around the project the, District Chief Executive (DCE) of Garu-Tempane, Mr. Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri, said the activities of the Fulani herdsmen have been a major source of worry to the people. He said the assembly had tried unsuccessfully to educate them on the harm their actions have caused farmers in the area but they appeared not to heed to their calls.

Mr. Asigri, who was also a victim of the destruction, said the people wished to co-exist peacefully with them in accordance with ECOWAS protocols, but added that the people's patience had be restrained unduly.

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He added that the continuous destruction of farm produce by the herdsmen have discouraged the youth to go into farming. The DCE said the matter had seen reported to the police, who have arrested the herdsmen together with their cattle. Another victim, Mr. John Akonai, alleged that the herdsmen attacked the overseer of the project when he advised them to control their herd out of the farms.

He said their actions clearly demonstrates that they had no respect for others welfare, and therefore called on government to regulate their activities as a matter of urgency.

He added that those found to have abused the country's hospitality should be deported since they could not destroy the livelihoods of citizens to their own advantage. When the police was contacted it confirmed the arrest but could not give the number arrested, but added that they have been granted bail pending investigations.

Source: GNA
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