The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has defended the shooting of three individuals in Bawku in the Upper East Region by soldiers amid a renewal of conflict among feuding factions in the town last week.
It was reported that soldiers fired gunshots at a group, killing them on the spot without any provocation. However, the military says the deceased were assailants who fired gunshots at them.
It asserted, “GAF finds it necessary to disclose details of the operations on Thursday, 18 January 2024 with the view to debunking false information and the unsubstantiated notion that a particular group is being targeted by troops deployed in Bawku.”
“It is worth mentioning that at about 2030 hrs same day, own troops conducting night foot patrols around Hasania School at Sabongari were fired upon by 4 gunmen. Troops returned fire spontaneously neutralising 3 of the assailants. The fourth suspect managed to escape.”
This, it said, was after unknown gunmen hiding in a valley fired at troops at Avengo and after the police had foiled the detonation of Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) at a Goil Filling Station in Bawku earlier in the day.
From the three deceased were retrieved one AK-47 rifle loaded with 16 rounds of 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition, according to the military.
Calling the death of the three as “unfortunate”, it warned against any form of confrontation against the military by the public.
“Troops will spare no opportunity to defend themselves as well as protect residents of Bawku. Therefore, factions in the Bawku conflict are cautioned against drawing the military into direct armed confrontation while efforts are undertaken to resolve the current impasse.”
Ahead of the confrontation between the military and the four individuals, the military reports that the resumed escalation of violence began on Friday, January 12, 2024, at about 2:55pm with the murder of one Issah Halidu, a 40-year-old Mamprusi. He attempted to rustle four cattle at Avengo, a Kusasi-dominated settlement.
He was pursued by unidentified gunmen and shot in the head and back. Troops dispatched to the scene retrieved two 7.62 x 39mm live rounds from his pocket.
Sporadic shootings unfolded in various communities on Friday, January 12, and into the early hours of Saturday, January 13.
Notably, on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, unknown gunmen targeted members of the public behind Bawku Divisional Police Station, claiming two lives and injuring four others.
On the same day, GAF said unknown assailants murdered one Azumah Alhassan, a 47-year-old Kusasi Professor at Sokabisi, Bolgatanga spawning sporadic gunshots at Bawku later in the night.