Conflict and Security Analyst, Colonel Retired Festus B. Aboagye, has criticised government’s decision to deploy more military personnel to Bawku as a means of resolving the conflict there.

The Defence Minister on February 8, said although there were 400 military personnel at Bawk, government will send 500 more to maintain the peace.

He said persons involved in the conflict are criminals and must be treated as such, adding that the ongoing conflict is no longer tied to chieftaincy disputes.

However, Col Aboagye said this approach was wrong because the state was handling the conflict as though the presence of the military will end the conflict.

“It seems as if the military deployment itself is an end in itself. Indeed many inter-ethnic conflicts and other conflicts are never solved through the use of force…the conflict can never be solved by deploring the military,” he said.

Speaking on Newsfile on Saturday, he explained that the military can only be used to restore calm for the negotiation process to begin.

“The military is to try and contribute to a de-escalation of the violence that rose up within a very short space of time. In order that it creates that kind of space, not geographical space but the space where mediation and dialogue can begin to take place constructive,” he said.

Touching on the Defence Minister’s labelling of the parties involved in the conflict, the Security Analyst said “it is wrong to label as it worsens the matter”.

“It does not help that certain utterances by politically exposed persons including the Defense Minister start labelling any or all the parties as criminal, it does not help.

“In fact, the book says labelling or putting labels on parties in a conflict is counterproductive, “he added.

Mr Aboagye advised government to be measured in utterances. He stressed that the “military is a conflict management mechanism, not a conflict resolution mechanism.” 

The military since its deployment to Bawku has been accused of killing seven locals in the community.

However, in a release, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) rejected the claim. They said the reportage was untrue and should be ignored.


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The statement said that the soldiers engaged a group of armed men and neutralised six of them.

“In a separate incident, sporadic firing was heard around Sabongari General Area. A Patrol Team dispatched to assess the situation spotted unknown armed men at Gozesi-Valley side in Sabongari wearing black T-shirts with Black Hoodies. 

“Troops engaged them and neutralised six armed men. During the engagement, some armed men took cover in a mud house within the immediate vicinity to engage the Team,” the statement read.