ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC ORDER & SAFETY – 2021
The resilience of the …
Published on 10 May, 2021.
The situation in Northern Ghana in the last month was relatively stable. Local authorities succeeded in making some progress with the Doda-Kadinga land dispute. There are continuing tensions in the North East region (chieftaincy disputes) and Savannah regions (land disputes). Armed robbery (highway robbery) dropped with few incidents reported, a situation attributed to active policing over the last few weeks.
Tensions have remained in the Doba-Kadinga area yet no violent incident were reported in the last month. The court has managed to provide a ruling on the existing land dispute fueling the conflict. According to a representative of the Upper East Regional Peace Council, it has been ruled that one of the disputed lands in the area belongs to the Andema—who is a sympathizer of the Doba faction. The ruling effectively indicates that the land in question belongs to the Dobas. Members of the Kadinga community have rejected the ruling of the court. To prevent further violence, the Regional Peace Council has asked the community to resort to dialogue and proper channels to register their grievance. Also, local authorities have resolved concerns that delayed the burial of victims that died during the violent clashes last December. Two out of the three bodies have been released and buried. The government has also imposed a 6pm-6am curfew in the community.
In the Savannah region, the Buipewura issued a statement aimed at safeguarding the right and safety of Fulanis in the region. According to the chief, there is no taboo that prevents Gonjas from marrying Fulanis. This statement is against a backdrop that marriages between Gonja and Fulanis were barred by tradition. This is part of several efforts being made by NGOs and local authorities to protect the Fulani population that has often been subjected to violence and discrimination in the region.
The tensions over grazing lands continue to be a major issue in the Savannah region. Farmers within the local communities—Tuluwe, Daboya, Dadre, Bole and Damango continue to register their displeasure over the destruction of farmlands by cattle. According to locals, the situation has become difficult to address because of the personal interests of chiefs, businessmen. Addressing the problem in local institutions have become problematic because of the personal interest of chiefs, politician and businessmen. There is an issue of conflict of interest as the majority of the cattle in the region are owned by persons—chiefs, politicians, businessmen responsible for addressing the dispute. The situation has caused several farmers to abandon farming activities for less sustainable economic activities such as charcoal burning and illegal logging. With the recent ban placed on charcoal burning, there is a risk of further unemployment in the area, a situation that is likely to translate into criminal activity. Those that decide to farm regardless tend to face the risk of violent clashes with armed Fulani cattle herders.
Security has heightened in Wenchiki, North East region following increased tensions over the existing chieftaincy disputes. The tension is due to the enskinment of a new chief— Abubakari Awufor as the ruler of Wenchiki by the Dagbon overlord—Ya-Na Abukari II. According to local sources, another chieftaincy gate has challenged the legitimacy of the new chief. Fearing that the tensions could escalate to violence, several residents have fled to other communities. Security forces—police and the military have been deployed into the area to ensure stability.
Armed robberies have dropped steadily in northern Ghana. Despite the high risk and prevalence of highway robberies, incidents have been unusually low in the last 4 weeks. One person was killed by armed robbers during an attack at Nasamba in the Nanumba South District in the Northern region. Another was person was injured following the incident. On 10th April, six suspects in custody escaped from prison following a jailbreak in Sandema, Upper East region. One of the jailbreakers was rearrested by the police. A manhunt has been launched by police to find and rearrest the other five who are still at large. The risk of armed robberies and highway attacks remains high despite the recent drop as the drivers (poverty, unemployment, easy access to arms, inadequate policing leading to armed and highways robberies) remain..
Commodity smuggling continues. The fall in demand for fertilizer is a result of the decreased farming activities in the region and is seasonal. Farming activities are projected to scale up in the next 4-8 weeks given the fact that the rains have begun. With the turn of the farming season, the smuggling of fertilizer across the region is expected to increase as there will be demand for cheap fertilizer. Also, transportation becomes easier since smugglers can blend with other trucks operating in the region. No incident of fuel smuggling was reported in the last 4 weeks; however, the prevalence of such activities remains high because of the demand for cheap fuel in neighbouring countries. Carcoal and Rosewood despite bans and news incetnives seem to be operating unabated and in the open.
In early April, the military conducted an ‘anti-galamsey’ operation in the Upper East region. The operation was conducted in the Wuru Forest Reserve in Kasena-Nankana District. Reports indicate that the unit confiscated and destroyed equipment allegedly owned by illegal miners. The equipment that was destroyed includes a chanfan and drilling machines.
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