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"It's now turned into war"- 8 dead in 6 days of clashes with herdsmen

October 30, 2017 2:27 PM
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"It's now turned into war"- 8 dead in 6 days of clashes with herdsmen

Renewed clashes between nomadic herdsmen and residents in the Kwahu East district of the Eastern region have left 8 persons dead in less than a week.

Leader of the Kwahu Youth for Social Development, Solomon Tettey told, the killings began last week Tuesday after three herdsmen were found dead.

In what appears to be a reprisal, the herdsmen allegedly stormed a community and killed two brothers Thursday night.

Another resident was killed on Friday after which two herdsmen were also murdered,

The two sides appeared to have observed a telepathic ceasefire over the weekend. But it has not stopped residents in about 17 communities in the district from fleeing the agrarian lands.

"It is now turned into war," Solomon Tettey remarked, alarmingly pointing out that the herdsmen will win if nothing is done about it.

"There is no way you can confront them and win. The kind of ammunition they have, we the citizens don’t have them", he said.

The herdsmen graze on farmlands of residents, destroying livelihoods of families. Some farmers have said the nefarious activities have left them in debt after securing loans to farm.

The herds graze under the security of armed men who are employed by influential members of society. Solomon Tettey said the economic returns of cattle rearing points to the involvement of big businessmen and politicians.

He said a cow cost averagely, ¢2,500. A herdsman could be in charge of 50. "Just do the calculations", he said, explaining ¢125,000 is not money which dirty-looking herdsmen would have.

"It tells you that the ordinary taxi driver, the ordinary doctor, the ordinary teacher cannot employ the herdsmen", he said.

Security in the Kwaku East district is porous. Solomon Tettey said there are no police patrols at the time when the herdsmen strike the most - in the night.

"We don't have the resources…we don't even have bullet proof", Mr. Tetteh reported the response from the police.

He would recommend at least 10 police officers for each of the 17 communities with five stationed on night duty.

But even this recommendation is half-hearted. The leader of the Kwahu Youth for Social Development wants a military detachment attached to the district.

"We want soldiers not policemen" he said and made comparisons to the deployment of soldiers to fight illegal mining.

He said the soldiers are "actually trained for war" and are therefore a fitting match for the herdsmen who are "always in for war".

The Eastern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ebenezer Tetteh rejected allegations that police officers failed to protect the residents in the waves of attacks.

He indicated that the accusations are emotional finger-pointing because of the tragic deaths.

According to him, the situation has de-escalated after police officers were sent to the district. But no arrests have been made, he said explaining the killing often happened in the bushes and in the night.

He explained, there have been efforts in the past by the chiefs, security capos and the herdsmen to maintain law and order.

He said, there is a fodder ban in the Afram Plains which makes the continued stay of the herdsmen in the area, a violation.


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