Representatives of Mamprusis on the Bawku Inter Ethnic Peace Committee have announced their withdrawal from the committee until further notice.

The Leader of the Mamprusi team and Co chairperson of the committee, Alhaji Kobila, told the Daily Graphic that they had been compelled to take that decision because of harassment of Mamprusis by the military in Bawku.

He alleged that in recent times, the military in Bawku had taken undue advantage of the situation anytime news of violence broke out in the town to go on the rampage in a discriminatory attack on Mamprusi suburbs, and without provocation manhandled everyone in sight.

He accused the military of discriminating against the Mamprusis and also criticised the soldiers for harassing his people.

Alhaji Kobila said personnel of the military on peace-keeping operations were treating opinion leaders in the Mamprusi communities in Bawku with contempt and arrogance, and that did not give room for co-operation from the Mamprusis.

A three-day workshop planned for members of the committee to enhance their capacity in peace building was postponed last Monday, due to the absence of the Mamprusis, who said they were mourning their relatives who were killed during the fatal clash, which claimed five lives on Sunday, September 4.

The Minister for the Interior, Mr Cletus Avoka, who was scheduled to address the workshop, explained that the workshop had to be rescheduled to Wednesday, September 9, 2009, but this was not to be as none of the participants made it to the venue of the workshop.

When the leadership of the committee, namely Mr Thomas Abila for the Kusasis and Alhaji Kobila for the Mamprusis, were contacted on phone, they both expressed doubts about the future of the committee.

While Mr Abila said the fate of the committee rested with the Government, Alhaji Kobila said his side was unhappy with the way the military in Bawku, in particular, was maltreating the Mamprusis, and that not even a change in the top hierarchy of the military in Bawku would bring them back to the negotiating table.

He also mentioned mistrust on the part of some members of the committee, who were stifling the peace process, adding that nothing would motivate them to go back to the com-mittee to continue with the process that they had started.

The committee, comprising both Kusasis and Mamprusis in Bawku, was set up by the Upper East Regional Co-ordinating Council to broker permanent peace in the Bawku metropolis and its environs.

It was later expanded to include leaders of the minority groups in Bawku.

To facilitate their work, the Government has donated a bus, as a means of transport, to the committee members to be able to shuttle every nook and cranny of Bawku and its environs to preach peace.

The terms of reference to guide the committee includes opening up of genuine, constructive and effective dialogue among the people of Bawku, especially the major protagonists in the conflict.

It is also to help educate the people on the need for a peaceful co-existence, placing emphasis on commonalities that unite the people, instead of their differences.

The Officer Commanding the Airborne Force in Bawku, Captain Frank Abrokwah, when contacted, declined to comment on the allegations made against the military personnel.

Source: Daily Graphic

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