The government has been urged to step up security efforts to curb the incessant violence and conflicts in some parts of the Upper East Region, to protect lives and properties.
Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, said, “the region is currently bleeding profusely” and demanded that the government took urgent steps to stop the destruction in the region.
The bishop was speaking in Bolgatanga at the launching of the Sahel Peace Initiative (SPI) Phase II, being implemented by the Catholic Church, with funding from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
Currently, apart from the renewed protracted Bawku Chieftaincy conflict which had claimed countless lives and destroyed property worth huge sums of Gahan Cedis, the land dispute between the Doba and Kandiga was also contributing to destabilising the region.
Describing the region as a weak link in the country’s security architecture, Most Reverend Agyenta, noted that the government needed to beef up security in the region taking into consideration the threats of extremists and terrorists in neighbouring countries.
“The Upper East Region is in turmoil, experiencing violence and armed conflicts centre, left and right.
“In her present state of vulnerability, the region is not only severely exposed to external threats of violence and insecurity but also the first point of call for the displaced and traumatised people of the neighbouring countries looking for safe haven,” he said.
The bishop explained that violence had never solved any human problem in history and urged the people of the region, especially those involved in the conflicts to embrace peace to ensure sustainable development.
“Through the Sahel Peace Initiative, the Church in accordance with her moral duty will continue to advocate peace, to speak to those who have the conscience, but we also expect and indeed we demand that the government live up to her constitutional responsibility to restrain the heartless from destroying innocent lives and property in our region,” Bishop Agyenta added.
Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, noted that currently there was relative peace in Bawku, Doba and Kandiga and the government was working hard to ensure lasting peace for accelerated development.
He regretted that because of the conflict, some institutions and development partners including investors were moving out of the region which was worrying and noted that the Sahel Peace Initiative would complement the government’s efforts to restore sustainable peace and social cohesion.
The SPI which is being coordinated by the National Catholic Secretariat and implemented by the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan Catholic Development Organisation (NABOCADO) to create awareness of threats of terrorism, promote social cohesion through advocacy and build the resilience of communities affected by conflicts in the Sub-region.
It would also work with relevant stakeholders to find mitigating measures to resolve conflicts through mediation and dialogue and respond to the humanitarian needs of people affected by the threats and conflicts.