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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Kudos to the police but they must be proactive

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

The Federation Of Muslim Councils of Ghana is right in commending the Ashanti Regional Police, the National Chief Imam and the Ashanti Region Peace Council for working swiftly to bring an end to the conflict between some Muslim youth and the indigenous people of Tafo in the Ashanti Region. Though one person lost his life with several others getting injured in the fracas, the situation would have degenerated into full blown war if immediate action was not taken. The conflict was said to be over the Muslims section of the cemetery at Tafo whose wall was demolished leading to a sharp reaction from the zongo youth who vandalized vehicles, a bank building and other properties. This is unfortunate because in this day and age when people are expected to live in peace many people were left wondering why such a conflict would break out in the center of the Kumasi which is considered to be the second city of Ghana.
For now every peace loving person in and outside Ghana is happy that the situation has been brought under control after 40 youth who were arrested over the issue were released on bail, and it is the hope of all that the parties in the conflict would avail themselves of the opportunity to settle the matters involved amicably. Let us continue using the National Chief Imam together with the National Peace Council and all other persons and organizations concerned in the matters concerned in the dispute.

However according to some security experts including a former military officer Captain Ebenezer Budu Koomson (rtd) the situation would have been averted if the security system in the Ashanti region had taken action on intelligence report on the Tafo Cemetery. According to him security officials had prior intelligence about the Tafo clashes before the skirmishes broke out. Indeed the issue between the Muslim youth in Tafo had been lingering for quite some time now as reported in the media and the police service in Ashanti cannot claim not to know about it. When they got wind of it they were expected to be proactive in taking steps to avert it but this they did not do till the unfortunate incidents occurred. Our bitter experiences in Tafo and the gruesome murder of the MP for Abuakwa North and attempt by a young man to attack a parliamentary candidate in Cape Coast must be a wakeup call to the Ghana police service and the entire security system on matters of conflicts throughout the country. The police must now activate and intensify its intelligence network to find out from people especially those in responsible positions what is going on in their lives especially as they interact with people. Most of the people who end up being attacked and killed are said to have received threats from their assailants on their phones long before they are attacked physically. From now on everyone must be encouraged to report these threats to the police at all times. Apart from this the police and the security system are aware about all security flash points in Ghana. It is required that intelligence personnel are sent to gather information regularly on what happens around the country regularly especially in the flashpoints. The police must be proactive and not wait for citizens to lodge complaints . when they suspect any mishaps the police must move in to invite suspects and feuding factions to find out from them what they glean to be happening. In this day and age when the social media has become a soft spot for mischief, the public must also be taught to be circumspect in reviewing information on social media outlets that have not been authenticated; else we may be lured into reacting to information leading to conflicts in the nation.
This way some of the problems that lead to conflict would be averted before they erupt into full blown conflicts or war. In spite of all that has happened Ghana is still touted as one of the most peaceful nations in the world. It is expected that everyone would give a helping hand to the security system and men in responsible positions to help in maintaining the peace in Ghana. God bless Ghana to remain great and strong at all times
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