General News of Thursday, 14 October 2010
The Deputy Manager of the Mole National Park in the West Gonja District of the Northern region, Enoch Ashie, has denied reports that park guards have been shooting indiscriminately at farmers whose lands are constantly being destroyed by animals from the reserve.
He however admitted that animals from the reserve have been destroying farmlands close to the area.
On Wednesday October 13, residents of Laribanga called on the Inspector General of Police to intervene in murders perpetrated by guards of Park. According to them, the guards shoot at residents who protest destructions caused on their farms by stray animals from the park. They alleged that five people have already been murdered by the guards.
The latest of these murders, according to them took place on September 12 2010, when the guards shot and killed one Seidu Abdullai after he protested against the destruction caused by the animals on his farm.
The President of the Gonja Youth Association, Mohammed Mumuni told Citi News that the local police was condoning the crime as no culprit has been brought to justice despite their incessant reports.
“These are people who are traditionally farmers with their farmlands very close to the Game and Wildlife and quite often their food crops are destroyed by elephants and other animals there. Persistently, they reported it to the Game and Wildlife authority but they have never been given any attention and anytime it happens that their crops are destroyed and they report, it becomes an issue. It has now become so alarming the rate at which human beings are being sacrificed for animals".
"We want the Government to quickly intervene to find an amicable solution. We specifically want the IGP to intervene by dispatching police officers to conduct investigations about this last killing because the person was killed outside the game reserve” he claimed.
But the Deputy Manager of the Mole National Park has denied any such incident saying the guards have a duty to check activities of poachers.
“There have not been any instances where our staff has shot at poachers outside or anyone trying to fetch his crops on his own farm. All that I know is that, when people illegally enter the park that’s where may be they exchange and all the poachers who come around are armed so once in a while we have these unfortunate incidents” he said.
“But it is true that the animals get into the farms and destroy crops. As at now, the Mole National Park is not fenced and animals know no boundaries. These animals have lived here all these years even before the park was created in the 60s and they move in and out. So all that we try to do is to work with the community to manage the problem” he noted.