From Edmond Gyebi, Tamale
THE MINISTER for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms. Otiko Afisa Djaba has strongly condemned the killing of women and children in the recent Bimbilla Chieftaincy dispute and called on all religious organizations to intercede, for Ghana to avoid a recurrence of any such needless violent conflicts that would lead to the death of innocent persons.
She was of the view that through incessant prayers from the Pastors and Imams and with God on the side of Ghana, every stubborn heart would be softened or humbled and people with evil intentions would be exposed to ensure peace and tranquility.
According to the National Women leader of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), it was highly unacceptable and unprecedented in the history of Ghana to see more women and children being killed in a gun battle in any community.
Speaking on UTV’s Adekyensoroma show on Wednesday, Ms. Otiko Djaba questioned why only women and children were killed in the Bimbilla conflict.
“Never again should anybody, especially women or children be killed, because of misunderstanding or conflict. We are one people and we must not be divided to the extent of killing our own wives, sisters, mothers and children”.
The Gender Minister, who was particularly worried about how most simple and solvable issues had degenerated into violent conflicts in the Northern part of Ghana, encouraged the people to see themselves as one people with one destiny and rather fight the common enemy of poverty.
It is estimated that over 12 women and four (4) children between two and four years old were shot dead in the renewed chieftaincy conflict in Bimbilla, the capital of the Nanumba North District of the Northern Region.
Several other persons including women also sustained bullet wounds while a number of houses, harvested food crops and other valuable properties were destroyed.
Many women and children have fled the Bimbilla town to seek refuge in some nearby communities. Schools and other decentralized offices have all been closed down by the District Security Committee (DISEC) to save lives.
At the moment, the DISEC has extended the curfew hours in Bimbilla from 4pm to 6am each day as a result of the violence, amidst heavy military cum police presence.
The Chieftaincy dispute was revisited when one of the two contesting royal families in the protracted Bimbilla Chieftaincy dispute allegedly attacked the palace of the Regent of Bimbilla, Naa Yakubu Dasana Andani for “illegally” installing two Warrior Chiefs from the Gino and Pusugu communities.
The installation led to hot exchanges of gun shots after the opposing group from the late Nakpanaa Salifu family reportedly started firing guns shots into the gathering.