The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has reiterated its appeal to the government to urgently use all the resources at its disposal to ensure that a lasting solution is found to the protracted conflict at Bawku in the Upper East Region.
“The situation of insecurity in Bawku and its environs is further compounded by the recent influx of refugees from Burkina Faso into the area, thus putting further pressure on the already impoverished and beleaguered communities welcoming these refugees seeking a safe haven.
“This influx could become a breeding ground for the infiltration of terrorist groups operating in neighbouring countries.
“We call on the government and most especially state institutions mandated to deal with migrants and displaced people to step up their humanitarian response to the situation in and around Bawku to avert further suffering inflicted on the population of the area,” a statement signed and issued by the President of the GCBC, the Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, said.
It also urged the government to empower the national security apparatus to ensure the non-infiltration of terrorist groups into the country.
“While commending the security personnel on the ground for working towards security and peace in Bawku, we call on them to be more professional and circumspect in the discharge of their duties and be measured in the use of firearms so as not to kill innocent people.
“We also urge them to desist from some of the inhumane treatment and brutalities being meted out to innocent citizens of Bawku,” the statement added, stressing that “at all cost we must avoid actions that will result in reprisal effects from aggrieved people”.
It made reference to an earlier communique issued on the subject, in which it raised concerns over how Bawku was gradually becoming a ghost town.
It explained that the town had become a pale shadow of itself, as educational, health and social services delivery had been adversely affected by the exodus of teachers, nurses and businesses from the town.
It urged the government to pay more attention to the plight of the remnant residents by ensuring that a lasting solution was found to the conflict to prevent Bawku and its environs from becoming a possible launch pad for terrorist groups operating in neighbouring countries.
The statement commended the efforts of the National and Regional Peace councils and other participants who were working feverishly to find a solution to the Bawku conflict and urged them to continue to engage the parties involved.
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“We, finally, appeal to the factions involved in the Bawku conflict, as well as all other stakeholders, such as the traditional leaders, faith groups, the print and the electronic media, natives and non-indigenes, political party groups and the international community, to do everything possible to help the process of peace-building for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Bawku and for the peace of Ghana,” it added.