The Regent of late Bawku Naba who is a Mamprusi, Alhaji Ibrahim Adam Zangbeo in a press release to all media houses has urged government to as matter of urgency, set up a committee that will look into the Bawku conflict which is chieftaincy related to bring finality to the Bawku conflict.
Alhaji Adam Zangbeo's press release is in response to the Abugrago Azoka II of the Kusuag Traditional council press release which sort to advise residents of Bawku and other communities around Bawku to allow Mamprusis from Nalerigu, Gambaga and Walewale to move freely and engage in their economic activities. Abugrago Azoka II press release also condemns the attack along the Bawku-Bolga highway that led to the killing of three persons. The press release also urged the Kusasis not to "export" the conflict in Bawku to other areas.
But the regent of the late Bawku Naba, Alhaji Adam Zangbeo described Abugrago Azoka's II press release as a belated pretentious call.
" Aninchema Abugrago Azoka's call to his Kusasi tribesmen not to "export" the conflict in Bawku to other areas can best be described as a belated pretentious call. In fact, Aninchema Abugrago Azoka has been the sole beneficiary of the so-called exportation" of the conflict outside Bawku since the 1980s".
" I wish to advise Aninchema Abugrago Azoka that his kinsmen need the advice he is giving to social media users more than anybody else. A video by a Kusasi called Akeliba who runs the Facebook page Kusasi Voice Association is available where he clearly heard inciting his fellow Kusasis to pick up arms and block the road at highways to kill Mamprusis or any other person aligned to Mamprusis. It is instructive to note that his statements contributed to the terrorist killings we have witnessed on the road".
" In as much as I commend the security for the work they do and continue to do for the people of Bawku, I urge government to do more. They should take a serious look at this age-old conflict and perhaps set up a committee that would look into the matter and help bring finality to this senseless conflict".
Below is the full statement by Alhaji Adam Zangbeo.
BAWKU TRADITIONAL COUNCIL
OFFICE OF THE REGENT (ALHAJI ADAM IBRAHIM ZANGBEO)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
My attention has been drawn to a press release by Aninchema Abugrago Azoka dated August 02, 2022, in which he purports to condemn the dastardly attack along the Bawku-Bolga Highway that led to the killing of 3 innocent natives of Bawku. A careful reader of the said press release would observe that it is nothing but a compendium of dishonesty, misrepresentations, mockery of the families of the deceased, and a subtle commendation to his kinsmen for unleashing terror on innocent citizens. This is so for the following reasons;
1. It must be noted from the outset that Aninchema Abugrago Azoka's first purported call to his Kusasi subjects to stop their banditry and terrorist attacks on innocent citizens was captured in a press statement dated July 8th, 2022. This was after about 8 months of sustained banditry, terrorism, and guerilla attacks by his Kinsmen on innocent citizens, the latest of which at that time was an attack on a market vehicle along the Bawku - Pulimakom road which claimed the life of an innocent woman whilst severely injuring 3 others. This was barely a month when a driver plying his trade on the same stretch of the road was shot and burnt alive in his car. Prior to this, there had been over 10 of such Kusasi guerilla and terrorist attacks on the same stretch of the road which claimed several innocent lives. However, all these incidents were met with deafening silence from Aninchema Abugrago Azoka with no condemnation of the attacks from him nor even words of condolences to the bereaved families. It is his indifference and subtle praise for these terrorist activities that have emboldened his kinsmen to continuously terrorize innocent people.
2. Thus, his belated purported call to his kinsmen for calm and a stop to attacks can best be described as a frustrated and a face-saving attempt since it has become so glaring to all citizens and major stakeholders that all the crimes, banditry, and terrorism leading to the loss of innocent lives were perpetuated by his kinsmen the Kusasis. I wish to call on Ghanaians to challenge Aninchema Abugrago Azoka to move beyond the rhetoric to action since he knows too well the perpetrators of these acts of terrorism. For the avoidance of doubt, his secretary, Jingiri Thomas Abilla confessed in his press conference on July 8th, 2022, that all these crimes were committed within Kusasi territories. Thus, it should not be difficult for him to identify and present these names to the security agencies for action since he sees himself as the Overlord of his tribesmen. Or is it the case that he has lost control over his tribesmen?
3. Aninchema Abugrago Azoka's call to his Kusasi tribesmen not to "export" the conflict in Bawku to other areas can best be described as a belated pretentious call. In fact, Aninchema Abugrago Azoka has been the sole beneficiary of the so-called "exportation" of the conflict outside Bawku since the 1980s. Below is a list of places outside Bawku where his Kusasi tribesmen have succeeded in "exporting" the Bawku conflict. The list is not exhaustive;
I. In 1983, John Ndebugre led Kusasi warmongers to Tanga which is not Bawku to kill 5 innocent Mamprusi men and burnt several homes belonging to Mamprusis in Tanga. Their only crime was that they bore Mamprusi identities even though they were not from Bawku nor living in Bawku. This attack on the people of Tanga was captured in the 1984 Committee to investigate the Bawku Land Disputes (Minyila Committee).
II. In 1985, Kusasi warmongers killed a Mamprusi man from Binduri by the name Thomas Agumah aka Space Man who was a Maths teacher at the Bawku Secondary school. This was a native of Binduri whose only crime was that he bore a Mamprusi identity even though he was not from Bawku.
III. In 1985, Kusasi war mongers murdered over 20 innocent Mamprusis, mainly old men who had run into a mosque for shelter at Zabugu.
IV. There have been over 3 separate murders of innocent Mamprusis at Garu in 2001, 2008, and 2022. There have also been attacks on innocent market women at the Garu market where market wares belonging to these women were burnt to ashes by Kusasi Youth wielding automatic riffles.
V. On 4th May 2008, Mamprusis in Pusiga had their houses burnt under the orders of Philip Akpakpa who sits there under the authority of Aninchema Abugrago Azoka. Not only that, there have been murders of over 10 innocent people in the Pusiga district since the year 2000 with about 4 innocent deaths in the past 5 months.
VI. In the Binduri district, there has been the murder of over 7 innocent people since the year 2000 along the Bawku-Bolga highway with the recent attack claiming 3 lives. A violent attack was also carried out on an Ambulance carrying patients to Tamale. Market wares belonging to innocent women were set ablaze by Kusasi armed Men at Atuba market in the same Binduri district.
VII. In the Zebilla district, aside from the attacks at Tanga captured above, there have been attacks on innocent market women at the Binaba market which saw gunmen openly wielding automatic riffles terrorizing people.
In all of these attacks, Aninchema Abugrago Azoka and his so-called elders have gloated over the terrorism perpetrated by his tribesmen simply because they are the sole beneficiaries of the chaos. There has never been a word of condemnation for the "exportation" of the conflict outside Bawku so what has changed? In fact, Aninchema Abugrago Azoka himself has been caught on tape inciting his people by saying that they could wipe Mamprusis out of Bawku if they wanted. Thus, his active participation in the "exportation" of the conflict outside Bawku cannot just be overlooked because of his mere claim. He should start by first apologizing for his complicit role that has massively contributed to protracting the conflict.
Furthermore, the facts also show that the Kusasis are not only involved in an "exportation" of the conflict outside Bawku but also benefited from the "importation" of people who have no roots in Bawku at all to the conflict. In the late 1950s Aninchema's father, Abugrago Azoka benefited from the actions of the likes of Asumda who had absolutely no routes in Bawku. Likewise in the 1980s, the likes of John Ndebugre and Cletus Avoka who also had absolutely no roots in Bawku worsened the security situation in Bawku to which Aninchema Abugrago Azoka was the sole beneficiary.
4. It is rich to also hear Aninchema Abugrago Azoka say "I wish to assure Mamprusis from Nalerigu, Gambaga, and elsewhere to feel free to continue to ply their business and patronise all markets in Kusaug or pass through to Sankansi market in Northern Togo." This his statement causes us to ask whether he has really been living in Bawku all this while. The gruesome murder of 2 boys from Gambaga at a Kusasi-dominated village called Bugri corner on December 27, 2021 is still fresh in the mind. These 2 boys were very innocent and had absolutely nothing to do with the Bawku conflict. They were on a trade mission to deliver a horse to a buyer at Kulungungu but were accosted and murdered in cold blood by Kusasi terrorists at Bugri. Since the eruption of violence in Bawku in the 1980s, the Kusasis have considered anybody who is Mamprusi a target. They do not care if you are from Nalerigu or Gambaga, or Bawku. The gruesome murder in cold blood of Tondow Nabila, a native of Wungu by Kusasi terrorists in July 1984 is still fresh in the minds of Mamprusis and the good people of Wungu, Nalerigu, Gambaga, etc. On this note, I wish to caution my sons and daughters who are Mamprusis and coming from Gambaga, Nalerigu, etc not to fall for Aninchema's statement because it is an attempt to lure them to their murder as the Kusasi terrorists did to the 2 innocent boys from Gambaga and the innocent farmer, Tondow Nabila.
5. Aninchema's call for a "mutual dialogue aimed at educating all the people to understand and accept the" status quo" is his way of saying that the only way of attaining peace is to legitimize his illegal status. As far as the good people of Bawku are concerned, the current status quo with regards to the Bawku chieftaincy is concerned is that PNDCL 75 which legitimized Aninchema Abugrago Azoka was repealed by Act 516 of 1996 and this makes his status invalid. Also, the good people of Bawku are further aware that the status quo as far as they are concerned is that the Chieftaincy Tribunal of the National House of Chiefs which is the constitutionally mandated body to adjudicate chieftaincy matters ruled in favor of the Mamprusis in 1983 and declared Aninchema's father Abugrago Azoka as a "commoner". Thus, as far as the good people of Bawku are concerned, this is the status quo that Aninchema Abugrago Azoka and his kinsmen need to come to terms with and educate their terrorists that they can never turn the status quo by using violent means. If they are worried they should go to the appropriate chieftaincy adjudicating body for redress.
6. I wish to advise Aninchema Abugrago that his kinsmen need the advice he is giving to social media users more than anybody else. A video by a Kusasi called Akeliba who runs the Facebook page Kusasi Voice Association is available where he is clearly heard inciting his fellow Kusasis to pick up arms and block the road at Highways to kill Mamprusis or any other person aligned to Mamprusis. It is instructive to note that his statements contributed to the terrorist killings we have witnessed on the road. His inciteful statements have come to pass and he must be apprehended. Furthermore, one Abugri Haruna who presents himself as president of the Kusasi Youth Movement has been caught on tape inciting his fellow Kusasi men to violence by saying that there can never be peace in Bawku unless Mamprusis submit to Kusasis. This is the posture of the Kusasis that has led to their terrorists and bandits thinking they can coerce the Mamprusis to submission or wipe them out of Bawku.
I have always commended the peace-loving people of Bawku to continue to embrace peace even in the face of open provocation. These acts of banditry, terrorism and murders is characteristic of losers whose propaganda Ghanaians can now see beyond. These criminals feel they have no option than to continue to perpetuate their stock in trade, violence, in the hope of staying relevant. But this should not discourage the good people of Bawku. I will further urge you to continue to exercise restraint, stay law abiding and the wheels of justice, though they grind slowly, will surely be in our favour.
In as much as I commend the security for the work they do and continue to do for the people Bawku, I urge government to do more. They should take a serious look at this age-old conflict and perhaps set up a committee that would look into the matter and help bring finality to this senseless conflict. We believe, the committee after going through the matter, will ascertain the truth, help heal wounds and foster unity going forward.
I urge Ghanaians and the Government to take good note of the above details which summarily show how Aninchema Abugrago Azoka has together with his kinsmen undermined the peace and stability of Bawku. I urge the security agencies to cooperate with survivors of the Kusasi terrorist attack that killed 3 innocent lives on August 16, 2022, to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly act since I have been reliable informed by witnesses that the criminals are still at large.
I have listed murders perpetrated by his Kusasi kinsmen as far back as 1983. I would like to urge the security to never relent on their efforts to bring the perpetrators to book. Murder, no matter how long it takes, can always be prosecuted and we have every trust that the security services and agencies will not relent on their efforts to apprehend the perpetrators so that justice may be served. This is a very vital ingredient in the quest to bring lasting peace to my beloved Bawku.
Alhaji Ibrahim Adam Zangbeo