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General News of Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Source: GNA

Kufuor invites Bawku Naba for talks on Bawku conflict

Accra, June 25, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has invited the Bawku Naba, Asigiri Abugrago Azoka II, for another round of talks on Thursday at the Castle Osu, following the eruption of fresh violence that has killed 13 people.

A press release signed by Mr Andrew Awuni, Press Secretary to the President and Presidential Spokesman, said the meeting was part of a consultative process that had been going on for some time now towards finding lasting solution to the ethnic disturbances in Bawku and its environs.

President Kufuor had a meeting with the Bawku Naba and elders of the Mamprusis last month after which tensions appeared to have calmed down.

President Kufuor has, ahead of Thursday's meeting, appealed to the feuding factions to exercise restraint and give peace a chance while their Leaders continued with efforts to resolve the age-long dispute. Eleven people were last Saturday killed and seven others injured in Buabula, near Sabongare, in the Bawku Municipality in the Upper East Region in a retaliation bid after a Mamprusi man was allegedly killed by Kusasis.

The carnage began when one Mr Abugre Zakaria, alias Amengo, a Mamprusi man, lost his horse and went together with two colleagues to search for it at Buabula, near Sabongare, on Saturday at about 1700 hours.

While searching for the horse, they were kidnapped by some people believed to be Kusasis. Amengo's colleagues managed to escape but he was killed.

In retaliation it was alleged that a group of Mamprusis disguised themselves and went to the area where their compatriot was murdered and they killed 10 people, who were mostly women, children and the aged. Two more deaths were recorded subsequently.

Hundreds of people have been fleeing the area to Togo and Burkina Faso as sporadic gunfire has been ringing in the area since the weekend.

The Ministry of the Interior announced on Monday that the curfew imposed on Bawku Municipality and its environs following hostilities between the Kusasis and Mamprusis had been renewed for another week from June 23. The curfew hours still remained from 1800 hours to 0600 hours each day. The Interior Minister Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor in a press release announced that the curfew would be subject to revision depending on the security situation in the area. The renewal of the curfew was based on the advice of the Upper East Regional Security Council (REGSEC), the press release said. "Government is very much concerned about the renewed hostilities between the Kusasis and Mamprusis in the Bawku Municipality and continues to urge all citizens and well-meaning people in the area to exercise the utmost restraint to give peace a chance," the press release said.