Herdsmen menace: Euphoria grips Agogo as police-military team arrive

Herdsmen menace: Euphoria grips Agogo as police-military team arrive
Source: Ghana I Nhyira FM I Ohemeng Tawiah I ohemengtawiah@gmail.com
Date: 15-01-2018 Time: 07:01:04:am
The Operation Cowleg team in Agogo

Residents of Agogo are ecstatic over the deployment of a combined team of police and military force to flush out nomadic herdsmen and their cattle from the area.

Many people lined up on the streets out of joy to cheer the security personnel on as they arrive in the town.

The deployment follows a Joy News Hotline documentary “Violent Shepherds", a seven-month investigative piece which highlighted what has become a national security issue.

From Agogo in Ashanti, Kwahu East in Eastern, Kintampo and Berekum in Bono Ahafo Ashanti, Eastern and Bono Ahafo Regions farmers and other residents have endured pain.

Loss of lives, sexual abuse, and destruction of crops are among the ordeal visited on local farmers by nomadic herdsmen.

The arrival of the police-military team in Agogo means relief, especially, for farmers who had been restrained from going to farm following a gun attack on the Operation Cowleg team.

Three military officers and a policeman were ambushed by armed herdsmen while the sought to respond to a distress call from a woman whose farm was being destroyed.

The operations of the 248 personnel will cover land and air surveillance, aided by three Ghana Air Force helicopters.

Residents, some of whom were seeing a helicopter for the first time, besieged the Agogo State College airfield to catch a glimpse of the team.

Take-off by one of the aircraft saw a chaotic scene as clouds of dust covered the atmosphere.

It, however, did little to scare the excited crowd which was anxious to see what was next as residents line up by the roadside to cheer the team in ecstasy.

Residents of Agogo have every reason to be happy. Clashes since 2011 have plunged the area into insecurity.

Many of them have lost their livelihoods as a result.

Krontihene of Agogo, Nana Kwame Nti is among the elated residents.

"We are experiencing something new. There's a helicopter monitoring the movement of herdsmen and their cattle. The herdsmen know their days are numbered. Indeed this government is our saviour," he said in ecstasy.

He continued, "The support we are enjoying today is unprecedented. I can rest peacefully if f I die today  because there is peace in Agogo."

Member of Parliament for  Asante Akim North, Andy Appiah-Kubi, is hopeful the exercise would be a one-stop attempt to push-out herdsmen from Agogo land.

"We have seen operations in the past and there appears to be a trend of every year we celebrate an anniversary of the previous.

I want to believe that this is the finality of  all such anniversaries."

There are, however, concerns about the sustainability of the exercise to bring lasting relief to people of Agogo.

The District Chief Executive, who also chairs the District Security Committee, Francis Oti-Boateng, however, says the exercise will be sustained.

"The men [police-military team] are going to be here as long as the Fulanis are also here. So until they leave, we are not going to allow them to operate on our land.

"I can assure you in two weeks, you will see no cattle or Fulani man on our land," he assured.