It is said that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. This was what exactly happed in Tamale on Wednesday that sent members of the public scampering for cover to save dear lives.

The public condemnation is largely due to the fact the personnel are the custodians of arms, meant to protect and defend ordinary people but had turned on themselves in a street battle following a misunderstanding which could have been without bloodshed.

We are reliably informed that the police went through due process after a complaint against military personnel was lodged with them, to request the military command in the Northern Region to investigate the matter but this later turned into a gun battle.

We do not want to go into the merit or demerit of what went wrong but we are saddened by the turn of event, especially coming on the heels of a statement issued  by the Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Apeatu and the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Obed  Akwa,  few weeks ago urging the two uniformed personnel  not to undermine the authority of each other while performing their duties.

The statement signed on behalf of the two institutions by Rear Admiral M. Beick-Baffour, after a crunch meeting between the two security capos on April 24, at the Burma Camp in Accra, condemned as unprofessional clashes between the two and agreed on guidelines for the peaceful cooperation between the two institutions.

According to the statement, the clashes between the police and the military could undermine the security of the country, safety of personnel and that of the public. So, what happened?

We recall a recent misunderstanding between some military personnel and police at the Upper East Regional capital, Bolgatanga, in which the Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, made a timely intervention to avert what would have been a bloody clash.

For the gun battle to come on the heels of the interventions by the two high commands, shows the level of deep seated animosity between the personnel of the two institutions.

We are worried that the two institutions known for their discipline could engage in such activities in Tamale known for its own troubles.

Indeed, Tamale, and by extension the Northern Region is a flash point with occasional communal clashes over chieftaincy, land and political differences.

And we would have wished that the uniformed men stationed in the area would be mindful of the situation and ensure that no one disturbed the peace in the area.

While we appreciate the job they continue to do to bring about peace in that part of the country, it is untenable for them to turn the area into a battle ground to settle personal scores.

We, call for a full scale investigations into the incident and those found culpable brought to book to serve as deterrent.

While the investigations are ongoing it would be important to search for root causes of the clashes as it appears there is a deep seated animosity between personnel of the two institutions.

Once the root causes are traced and addressed appropriately respect and confidence would be restored again.

As part of the healing process, we urge the two high commands to reactivate their Security Services Association (SESSA) games, as well as organise a joint WASSA among the uniformed men and women to fraternise and get to know one another better.




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