The bodies of nine civilians allegedly killed by the military in Bawku, in the Upper East Region, have been handed over to their families for burial.
The nine were shot and killed in separate attacks at different locations within the Bawku Municipality, which has sparked an uproar among residents.
Dozens of residents are fleeing the area for their lives, with teachers and pupils in the township taking a ‘tough’ decision to desert school after the uniformed men allegedly stormed communities close to the town and killed about 14 residents and injuring scores of others.
The teachers said although the decision has not been sanctioned by the Ghana Education Service at both Municipal and Regional levels, they had to advise themselves since their lives were under threat.
Scores of shops in the town have been closed after the January 26 and February 1, 2023, gruesome attacks.
A source told the Ghanaian Times, at Bawku, yesterday, that the situation was becoming tense, and expressed fear that the alleged killings by the military could escalate the conflict in the area.
“Now, civilians are engaged in sporadic gunfire exchanges in communities close to the town in protest of the military brutalities, so parents have advised their children to stay home.
“We the teachers have to also take a cue from the happenings because our lives also matter”, the source said.
The tragic incident happened after the military allegedly accused civilians of deliberately defying curfew hours to engage in shootouts.
On January 26, this year, civilians; namely, Dauda, 50, and Sally, 59, both residents of Patelmi, in the Bawku Municipality, were allegedly subjected to severe torture and shot dead by the men in uniform after being accused of flouting curfew rules and regulations.
Again, on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at about 1 pm, eight other civilians were shot and killed by the military at the Songuri and Zougin communities.
The deceased have been identified as Issah Kasim, Madi Mamudu, Mumuni Ndego, Issifu Karim, Eliasu Ayuma, Gafaru Sumaila, Kudus Haruna and Sumaila Adamu.
Five others died as a result of sporadic gunshot attacks, as civilians went ‘neck-to-neck’ with the security over the latter’s alleged brutalities.
Residents have asked Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, to consider withdrawing all military personnel deployed to the area in the wake of the communal conflict, following alleged combative behaviour.
“You (the security) have been asked to help maintain discipline and calm the security situation, but not to kill us. The military have killed more than ten, and that is very pathetic, wickedness to say the least”, an eyewitness and resident of Bawku lamented.
The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has issued a statement to condemn the alleged excesses by the security in the area, and called for calm from the people.
He asked the government to carry out a swift investigation into the alleged killings, to unravel the rationale behind the alleged inhumane acts perpetrated by the military.
Bawku has experienced a spate of attacks over the past two years linked to a spillover of communal clashes, which have ravaged the municipality and neighbouring districts.
FROM FRANCIS DABRE DABANG, BAWKU