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Regional News of Friday, 25 February 2022


Residents of Wechiau call for cessation of hunting activities in the community

Residents are complaining about the rise in crime rate since the arrival of the hunters Residents are complaining about the rise in crime rate since the arrival of the hunters

Correspondence from Upper West Region

The influx of hunters in the Wechiau community in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region has left many community members in fear and panic mode due to the sight of guns openly displayed by hunters as well as other bad practices that come with it.

According to them, these hunters numbering over 200 who mostly come from afar as Wa Municipal and its surrounding communities, storm the community on motorbikes as well as tricycles carrying rifles and their dogs on their bikes heading into the bushes for their hunting expedition.

This, residents said, was sending fear down their spines upon seeing the guns being brandished about by such a number of people, a spectacle alien to them.

Speaking to GhanaWeb's Upper West correspondent, Ilyaas Al-Hasan, Wednesday, February 23, 2022, former assembly member of the area, Abdul-Razak Yaamusah Abdallah Issahak, who is at the forefront to spear heard the campaign against hunting in the area said that the hunting activities were contributing to the high crime rate in the area.

He alleged the presence of hunters in the community had resulted in theft in the area, particularly the stealing of animals.

"Since their presence here, you hear residents complain of their lost domestic animals every now and then. If for instance, they chance on your guinea fowls some three hundred meters away from home, then they would claim them as wild animals all in the name of hunting," he alleged.

He also alluded to a recent snatching of motorbikes from two teachers in the town which he indicated took place along the route used by the hunters.

Mr. R Y. Abdallah intimated that the generality of reported cases of crime was on the ascendancy which he attributed to activities of the hunters in the area, thereby worsening the security situation the district was already grappling with.

He however admitted that it was also possible some deviant elements might have used the opportunity to infiltrate the ranks of the hunters to visit crime on the people.

"And if you look at generally, people living in the villages, if any of them sees someone carrying a gun, they immediately become frightened and panic-stricken. All the hunters numbering over 200 people usually storm the community carrying guns. Farmers working on their farms are often gripped with fears upon seeing the hunters emerge from the bushes armed with rifles."

"What worsened the issue is that two days ago, the motorbike of a teacher was confiscated along the route used by the hunters. Just yesterday, a motorbike of another teacher was also taken away from her along the same route of the hunters. If they aren't responsible for the stealing, but there might be some criminal elements using the opportunity to visit mayhem on the people in the district," he alleged.

Mr. R. Y. Abdallah who is also manager of the Hippo Sanctuary, a tourists site in the town known for his passion in safeguarding wildlife as well as the environment, lamented the negative impact the hunting activities were having on the environment and wildlife.

He noted that apart from depleting the vegetation cover, the development was also denying the district more tourism opportunities to rake in more revenue by wiping away a good number of animals all in the name of hunting.

"In Ghana, we have no wildlife left and efforts are being made to keep and protect what is left of the wildlife and then people are going around killing whatever they find including rats among others. If you go to a place like Kenya, the country is gaining revenue out of the conservation of wildlife."

"And what they are doing is sometimes setting fire to sections of the bush, an action that depletes the environment and affects farming. So besides the robberies, they're also destroying the environment. They are causing fear and panic to the larger community. Just last year, we stopped them from entering into our area but the way they're advancing, (something has to be done)," he bemoaned.

Mr. R. Y. Issahaku Abdallah hinted of the intent by residents to petition the chief and elders of the town, the Regional Minister, Regional Police Commander, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fire Service, as well as other relevant institutions to help rescue the community from the hands of the hunters.