A joint Police-Military exercise is underway in the Asante Akyem District of Ashanti Region to drive away Fulani herdsmen and their cattle.
The exercise including the Air force, involves 200 security personnel mandated push back nomads from new areas they have occupied.
According to a brief statement signed by deputy Information Minister, Perry Okudzeto, “the operation is in response to recent attacks on residents and security personnel in the area by nomadic herdsmen, stressing that officers have clear instructions, to arrest those involved in recent acts of violence and prosecute them.
The operation according to the statement is to augment ongoing efforts to flush out Fulani herdsmen and their cattle in the Agogo area.
Residents were elated when news broke about the arrival of the well armed contingent. Some of those who spoke to XYZ news said its demonstrates governments real commitment this time.
“We were very happy when we saw 3 helicopters that came to Agogo this afternoon to flush out this fulani herdsmen. We thank Govern,ment for the move because these herdsmen have tormented us for for over 20 years,” one of the residents told XYZ News.
The joint exercise follows the injury of three soldiers and a Police officer currently in critical condition at the 37 Military Hospital after they were allegedly ambushed and attacked by nomads.
XYZ News’ Jonathan Ofori reported that the new District Police Commander and other commanding officers leading OPERATION COWLEG, held a long meeting this afternoon on their operational strategy.
Though a 2012 High Court ruling asked authorities to pushout the nomadic herdsmen from Agogo and its environs, the decision has not gone down well with cattle owners in the area. One of them, a popular football administrator, Alhaji Grunsah who owns hundreds of cattle in that area, nearly cried on the Morning Xpress on Friday, following the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) meeting on Thursday to forcibly get them out of the area.
Mr. Grunsah said the situation rather compelled him to relocate his cattle to neighbouring Burkina Faso which will not help him.
“We can’t fight the military. we know if we shoot the military we have declared war. I’m appealing to the President as a Ghanaian to come to our aid as a Ghanaian like them. We don’t know where to go,” he told the host, Kofi Oppong Asamoah.
Alhaji Adha, who also owns hundreds of cattle at Agogo also bemoaned the killing of cattle belonging to him and other cattle owners by security personnel. He said “they [security personnel] killed 79” of his cattle and “took them away.”
Dialogue Is The Way
However, speaking on the Morning Xpress Friday morning, Nana Owusu Sekyere, a security expert rather advocated for government to opt for dialogue with the nomadic herdsmen instead of declaring them as criminals and flush them out of the area, saying: “Dialogue is the way and therefore we need to engage all of them.”
Nana Serkyere said the “shoot to kill” decision was not the best.
“. .What if you shoot and it is not the target? What if you shoot and creates a separate situation altogether and legal issues start to come in?” he quizzed, maintaining that such actions will defeat the purpose for which they were sent to the area, if some resist the instruction.
Source: Ghana/myxyzonline.com/Henryson okrah