Don’t politicize Bawku disturbances – Joseph Osei-Owusu to MPs

First Deputy Speaker in Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu has cautioned Members of Parliament to refrain from politicizing the clashes in Bawku in the Upper East Region.

He advised his colleague legislators not to get involved in the mayhem in the troubled community and rather allow the security agencies to handle it.

This comes after the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate alleged civilian killings by the Ghana Armed Forces.

The MP is requesting GH¢500,000 in damages for the families of those who died, as well as adequate compensation for those who were injured.

Mr. Osei-Owusu, speaking on the floor of Parliament, urged MPs to support security efforts to restore calm.

“CHRAJ and the police have been invited to investigate the specific allegation. I will encourage that we permit them to do that. The risk of bringing our political clouts into this situation is very high. I encourage members to keep out of it and only focus on excesses as the MP has done and be seen as being supportive of the work of the security agencies.”

Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul has said, the government will send 500 more military personnel to Bawku in the Upper East Region next week to maintain peace.

According to the Minister, there are currently 400 soldiers in the community to assist with the conflict.

The Minister has therefore charged the military to treat individuals involved in the disturbances as criminals because the conflict is no longer tied to chieftaincy issues.

Dominic Nitiwul was also speaking on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday.

He assured that the government is committed to addressing the situation.

“What is happening today is not about chieftaincy. It is criminality. Those operating are criminals. I have asked members of the armed forces to deal with such persons as pure criminals. Government has done what it can on its part to ensure that Bawku is peaceful. We have moved Bawku from 50 to 400 soldiers, so we are sending another 500 military task force to Bawku alone next week.”

The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga accused the military of shooting indiscriminately into some indigenes running for cover, killing seven of them in the process.

The allegation has since been refuted by the Ghana Armed Forces. In a statement, the Ghana Armed Forces said they engaged an armed combatant in Bawku and neutralised six of them.

The Minority in Parliament has called for an ad-hoc committee to probe the alleged killings.