Accra (Agenzia Fides) - "The Upper East Regional Peace Council and the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga view with great concern the recent events in Garu involving the military and residents and condemn the brutality suffered by the civilian population in the area in the strongest possible terms," said a joint statement signed by the Chairman of the Regional Peace Council Alhaji Sumaila Issaka and Msgr. Alfred Agyenta, Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga. The events referred to in the joint statement date back to the early hours of Sunday, October 29, when some soldiers allegedly attacked residents of the city during a raid in what residents said was retaliation for an attack on some national security officials on October 24th.
The statement said that in view of recent developments in the Sahel region, the two institutions have taken steps to strengthen community cohesion and trust between local populations and security authorities along border communities, including Garu and Tempane, and thus counteract violent extremist activities. The two areas are in the far north of Ghana on the border with Burkina Faso and are vulnerable to infiltration by terrorist groups. The statement expresses concern that the recent incident has caused fear and terror among people in the area and notes that if the situation had not been adequately addressed, it could have hampered the necessary cooperation between residents and security forces in countering the violence by extremists on the country's borders. "Given the lack of clarity about what actually happened, we call on the government to launch an independent investigation into the incidents. We also call on the government to take the necessary steps to ensure that those injured in the clashes receive the necessary medical treatment and the safety of those arrested is guaranteed", said the signatories. “We also call on civil society and all peacekeepers to be active citizens and not mere spectators in matters that affect the security of us all,” said the authors of the statement, which concluded by calling for “greater collective and collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to restore security and peace. We pray that God grants healing and peace of mind to the victims and their families, as well as to all those affected by these recent tragic events," the statement said. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/11/2023)