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Regional News of Thursday, 9 July 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Investigate the shooting of 6 people in Kandiga-Doba – Kandiga Youth

Following the shooting incidence that claimed about 6 lives during the dispute between the people of Doba and Kandiga in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East region, the Kandiga Youth for Development is calling on the Minister for Interior, Ambrose Dery to conduct an investigation into the matter.

During the incident, about 10 suspects were arrested with weapons retrieved from them by the security personnel who were deployed to the conflict area to end the violence.

Leader of the Kandiga Youth for Development, Michael Abogro in a press release said “We call on the Hon. Minister for Interior to institute investigations into the circumstances surrounding the unwarranted shooting to death of four of our brothers and the injuring of ten others by the first military deployment to the area”.

He also called on government to complete the construction of the police station in the area to help maintain law and order in the community.

“Owing to the needless violent attacks coupled with the high rate of armed robberies in the conflict area, we call on the government to, as a matter of urgency, complete the construction of the police station at Abempingo to ensure law and order in the area,” he added.

They are however thankful to the Ministers for Defense Interior for the joint effort in deploying the Tumu troops to the conflict zone.

The injured persons, on the other hand, are receiving treatment at the War Memorial Hospital in Navrongo.

Read below their press statement.

Friends of the Media, fellow citizens of the Republic of Ghana, following renewed clashes between the peoples of Kandiga and Doba in the Upper East Region recently, the Kandiga Youth for Development wish to set the records straight and bring to the fore certain developments that require redress in order to restore law and order in the conflict area. This Press Statement touches on five important elements which we detail as follows:

1.Incessant provocations by the people of Doba

First of all, as a peace loving people who seek the total development of our dear community, Kandiga, we do not desire any form of belligerence between us and our neighbors. As such, we have always exercised restraint in the midst of extreme provocation since the dispute between the peoples of Kandiga and Doba over a parcel of land located between the Anayere and Atankire Rivers in the Upper east Region began in 2012. In our previous Press Releases, we recounted numerous instances in which our territorial integrity had been violated with impunity by the people of Doba, some of which we recall as follows: In 2012, the people of Doba disrupted a biometric registration exercise in the Atosale-Azaasi and Akunkongu-Abempingo Electoral Areas; in the same year, they violently destroyed crops of farmers from Kandiga along the Anayere River banks; in 2018, they destroyed a Catholic Church building that was under construction at Azaasi; and very recently they disrupted work on the Police Post and CHPS Compound located in Azaasi and Abempingo respectively. In the midst of the above listed violations, we exercised restraint, believing that the Law Court is the appropriate avenue to settle land disputes. It must be emphasised that, NEVER has it been the case since the violence began, that the people of Kandiga ever crossed to Doba’s territory to attack them, NEVER! In all three (3) instances of the violent conflict, we have been compelled to repel attacks on our people and our land from intruders.

2.Military brutalities and biased posturing

We wish to register our protest at the manner in which the first batch of military personnel deployed on 4th July, 2020 to keep the peace in the troubled area turned around to brutally assault, and in some cases, openly shoot at close range, the people of Kandiga resulting in four deaths from such unprofessional conduct. Additionally, the failure of the military detachment to locate at, and patrol along the Anayere River which is the boundary line between the two communities simply aided the people of Doba to cross the river into Kandiga territory to launch attacks. This essentially made Kandiga the battle ground with all recorded killings and injuries in this latest round of conflict occurring on our land. In fact, all deaths and injuries occurred in Kandiga communities namely; Abempingo, Akunkongo, Atosale and Azaasi. It is important to note that deaths of people of Doba origin equally occurred on Kandiga land. This is to buttress our claim that we came under attack and therefore had to defend our land and people.

3.Misrepresentation of Facts

The Municipal Police Commander for the Kasena Nankana Municipal Assembly, DSP Francis Oppong Agyare had told reporters that the renewed conflict was triggered by celebrations by the people of Kandiga following the release of their sons from police detention. He added that the celebrations angered the people of Doba who then launched an attack on Kandiga. It is important to underscore the fact that the people of Kandiga never celebrated the release of our brothers from detention in any shape or form. In deed there was no need for celebration since we still had some of our brothers still in police detention in Bolgatanga. It was therefore misleading for the Municipal Police Commander to have attributed the cause of the renewed conflict to “supposed celebrations over release of detainees”. It must instead be pointed out that the people of Doba have been hell-bent on attacking Kandiga for reasons best known to them. This has been bolstered by unwholesome utterances, actions and inactions of the Municipal Police Commander, the Municipal Chief Executive, and the Regional Minister, all skewed in support of Doba and maligning of the People of Kandiga. This is what fuels and emboldens the people of Doba to engage in the brazen hooliganism that we are witnesses to on the land of Kandiga resulting in needless loss of lives and properties.

4.Appeal for calm

We are not proud of the events of 22nd April, 2020 which marked the beginning of violence over the land dispute. As noted in Section 1 of this release, we reiterate that we are a peace loving people seeking the development of our dear community, Kandiga. Reflecting on the recent bloodshed following the renewed conflict, the Kandiga Youth for Development is of the strong conviction that development will elude us if peace, law and order are not restored to the troubled area. It is in this light that we call for calm to prevail in the interest of peace and development. However, let no one misconstrue this to mean a position of weakness. We reserve the right to defend ourselves if we come under attack from any aggressor.

5.Way forward

While appealing for calm in the troubled area, we urge the security forces who are mandated to keep the peace, to at all time, exercise professionalism and neutrality in dealing with the two sides to the conflict. We particularly wish to commend the Tumu Military Detachment for the fairness and professionalism with which they dealt with the two sides on their arrival at the conflict zone, resulting in the restoration of calm in the area.

Going forward, and as part of measures to restore calm and order in the conflict area, we strongly urge the security forces on the ground, and government for that matter, to be guided by the following recommendations:

1.That the military deployment to the conflict area should locate at the Anayere River which is the natural boundary separating Kandiga and Doba to ensure that no side breaches the peace in the area;
2.That owing to the needless violent attacks coupled with the high rate of armed robberies in the conflict area, we call on the government to, as a matter of urgency, complete construction of the police station at Abempingo to ensure law and order in the area;
3.That a security patrol team be constituted in the short-to-medium term in the conflict area to regularly patrol the Anayere River which serves as the boundary between the two communities;
4.That the unlawful arrest of the Assembly Member for the Akunkongo- Abempingo Electoral Area who was detained at the Navrongo Municipal Police Command when he visited the command to seek bail for his bothers in detention amount to a travesty of justice since his counterparts from Doba whose electoral areas are home to the aggressors are freely moving about and was never arrested when went there.
5.We call on the Hon. Minister for Interior to institute investigations into the circumstances surrounding the unwarranted shooting to death of four of our brothers and the injuring of ten others by the first military deployment to the area. We also wish to know the role played by the public officers mentioned in Section 3 of this release in compounding the current crisis.
In summing up, we would like to thank the Hon. Minister for Defense and the Hon. Minister for Interior very much for their joint efforts in deploying the Tumu troops to the conflict zone. But for the timely deployment, coupled with the professionalism and neutrality of the forces, the carnage would have been unimaginable.

Signed

Michael Abogro
(Leader, Kandiga Youth for Development)