File photo
File photo

Retrieve illegal weapons in the country - Peace Council tells govt

The National Peace Council (NPC) has called for the retrieval of weapons that had been illegally acquired by the people.

According to the council, such an exercise could help deal with violent conflicts in the country, including the protracted ethnic conflict in Bawku in the Upper East Region.

It also urged the government to have the “muscle” to effectively deal with people who failed to comply with measures put in place to address the proliferation of arms in the country.

The Executive Secretary of the NPC, George Amoh, who made the call, said the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons should lead the exercise.

He was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on how best to douse the flames in hot spots in the country, such as Bawku.

The interview was on the sidelines of a community engagement on managing ethnic diversity in the country for sustainable peace.

It was organised by the NPC, in collaboration with the United Nations, to commemorate this year's International Peace Day which was commemorated on the theme: “End racism: Build peace.”

Participants from UN agencies, market women, driver associations, among others in the Greater Accra Region, attended the event.


Mr Amoh said while the council was using soft approaches, such as dialogue, mediation and public education, to promote peace, the commission on small arms and the security agencies should also be seen to be using their own professional strategies to deal with crime and violence in conflict zones.

He further called for a clear cut framework on the acquisition, usage and monitoring and audit of small and light weapons in the system, stressing that “until we are able to do that well, small arms and weapons will continue to get into wrong hands".

Bawku conflict

On the Bawku conflict, Mr Amoh said there must be a conscious effort to change the mindset of the people in the area to give peace a chance.

He also called for the active involvement of women in the peace-building process, including the creation of more job opportunities for the youth to prevent them from being used as conduits for violence and conflicts.

“Efforts must be made to provide livelihoods for people to help take their minds off the issues of conflict. By so doing, we may succeed in getting them transformed," he added.

According to him, the NPC had been holding a series of dialogue with the people of Bawku, including the traditional rulers and politicians, as well as capacity-building programmes for members of the Bawku Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee (IEPC), all in a bid to resolve the internecine conflict.


The first major conflict between the two ethnic groups in Bawku, the Kusasis and the Mamprusis, over who was the rightful custodian of the area, erupted in 1983 during the Samanpiid Festival celebrated by the Kusasis to signify a bumper harvest.

The Bawku IEPC, comprising Kusasis and Mamprusis, was inaugurated in 2009 to work towards the restoration of peace to Bawku.

However, in spite of efforts made by the committee and other stakeholders to resolve the protracted conflict, it continues to claim lives.

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