General News of Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Burkinabe Refugees In Bawku Repatriated

Almost all the Busanga and Fulanis who fled from conflict in their communities in Burkina Faso to Sapeliga in Bawku West district in the Upper East Region on the eve of the New Year, have been taken back to Burkina-Faso and settled at a temporal camp at Ayuuga.

The Ayuuga Camp in the Central East Province of Burkina Faso is about five kilometres away from the Sapeliga community and is expected to be the home for over 700 Burkinabes who had to flee from Barigunse, Yarikor and Zaabire communities following ethnic clashes between some Busangas and Fulanis there.

Authorities of Central East Province in Burkina-Faso with support from their Ghanaian counterparts started the repatriation of the Burkinabes from Sapeliga with state sponsored buses from Burkina-Faso as early as 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 6, 2013.

A Burkinabe journalist, Hamidou Kafando, told DAILY GUIDE via phone that authorities of the Central East Province have started peace talks with the leadership of the Busangas and Fulanis in the Barigunse, Yarikor and Zaabire communities to ensure that what happened from December 31, 2012 to January 2, 2013, was buried and all differences that led to the conflict, resolved.

He was hopeful that peace process would be hastened to ensure the refugees did not stay at the Ayuuga Camp for long.

Earlier, on January 3, 2013, an Elder of the Sapeliga Community, Abdallah Ayeltoya, had told DAILY GUIDE that in as much as the Sapeliga community members had accepted to host the refugees—some of whom were trade partners and family members—the leadership of the community would not want them to stay for a long period.

“If they stay long here, there is the possibility of the Fulanis among them to get used to this area and will bring in their cattle from their hiding places to graze and rest here.

That will be the beginning of our problem with them and that could mare the relationship between Burkina-Faso and Ghana and even the Burkinabe communities that trade with the people of Sapeliga.” Abdallah Ayeltoya explained.

Information reaching DAILY GUIDE from the Sapeliga Community is that many of the wealthy Fulanis among the refugees have expressed some unwillingness to go back and stay in their communities in Burkina-Faso, claiming they could be targeted in the event of any disturbance.

One of the Fulanis who spoke Fulan and interpreted to the DAILY GUIDE at Sapeliga on January 3, said majority of the eight Fulanis that were killed in the conflict were wealthy people who were deliberately targeted and cleared.