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Bolgatanga Navrongo Diocese Catholic Priests call for peace

Some Catholic Priests in the Bolgatanga Navrongo Diocese have expressed worry at the prolonged violent conflict in the area and called on government to double up efforts to curb it.

In a statement issued by the concerned Priests and signed by Reverend Msgr. Camillo Sarko and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, the Priests said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless, not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act” (Dietrich Bonheoffer).

They said from the turn of the 19th century Bawku and its environs had been playing host to numerous people of diverse ethnic origins but the last two decades had witnessed an upsurge in violent conflict which turned the once neighbour and friend into opponent and enemy.

“This has made Bawku a pale shadow of a once bustling economic hub and hope of the north owing to its strategic location as a border town to Togo and Burkina Faso, but it can no longer be mentioned without immediate thoughts of war.”

The Priests urged government to view the conflict as a national problem and develop serious interest in it and do all within its power to bring it to an end, especially in the wake of the growing terrorism in the neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and Togo that could take advantage of the situation and cause havoc.

“It is evident that government’s efforts including funding military and police deployments and curfews are not yielding the desired results. Although social media is not the root cause, the eruption of the recent conflict is partly due to no action being taken by the government to trace and track down the numerous face and faceless Facebook accounts and media houses that keep spewing disrespectful language and calling for violence when we have a full Cyber Security Authority and National Media Commission dedicated to regulating cyber and media activities”, the Priests said.

They said Ghana remained the only bastion of peace in the West African sub-region and a compromise on the situation could throw the whole West African sub-region into irredeemable chaos.

“It is heart-wrenching to realize that several crimes against humanity are being committed in Bawku with women and children being killed in cold blood during curfew hours in their homes just because they belong to a different tribe.

The future of the surviving children remains bleak as they are unable to attend school and it is disheartening to hear people read and describe the loss of human lives on social media platforms as if it were game with obscene language, like, “two nil”, “we have wasted him,” “mass burial,” “rest in hell fire” amongst the many other unsavory phrases.”

They said it was time to stop the conflict and not expose the country’s security systems to breaches and lay the grounds for terrorist activities.

“The Bawku problem is a Ghana problem and the failure to bring peace to Bawku is a failure of the whole country and therefore in as much as we appeal to the government, we also appeal to our people to lay down their arms and allow the peace process to prevail.”

The priest thanked government for the efforts being made to quell the violence, “we wish to commend the Government of Ghana for its continuous deployment of security forces to the area and especially for the initiative undertaken by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who invited both the Nayiri and the Zugraan for discussions towards fostering peace in Bawku.”

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