Agogo farmers, youth stockpile arms against Fulanis
Local farmers in Agogo in the Ashanti Region have started arming themselves with guns of various sorts to fight off aggression from Fulani herdsmen in the area.
The locals say they can no longer suffer the trampling and destruction of their farms by cattle belonging to the Fulanis, as well as the raping of their sisters, mothers and wives; and killing of their relatives by the same nomads.
Recurrent skirmishes between host communities and the Fulani herdsmen have led to the death of at least 25 locals and an unknown number of Fulanis.
The festering rife has, however, reached threatening proportions in the past few months – a situation that has compelled the deployment of about 20 soldiers to Agogo to maintain peace.
Meanwhile a security expert at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Dr Kwesi Aning, has criticised Ghanaians for their “xenophobic attitude” against Fulani herdsmen in the country.
Dr Aning has also blamed government for failing to address the Fulani situation, in time, and, allowing the rift between locals and Fulani herdsmen to degenerate to the current situation where both sides are arming themselves for war.
“The triggers for what we are seeing are not different from the past. The only difference now is the seemingly organised response and almost justificatory xenophobic rhetoric that Fulanis are non-Ghanaians. ‘They are troublemakers and it is almost legitimate to respond anyhow to Fulanis’, which I think is most unfortunate and unacceptable,” he told Class FM’s Emefa Apawu in an interview on Wednesday 3rd February, 2016.
The Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has dispatched military personnel and policemen from the capital to Agogo in the Asante Akyem North District of the Ashanti Region to drive out the nomadic Fulani herdsmen, who have been terrorising inhabitants of the area.
A total of 20 military officers and 40 policemen will help security officers already on the ground to protect residents, as authorities find solutions to the security problem.
The herders have been accused of several atrocities in the area, mainly destruction of property and farmlands belonging to indigenes, who are mostly farmers. The nomads have also been accused of robbery and rape.
The latest killing of a 27-year-old man on Tuesday 2 February, comes just a week after the youth in the area issued a warning to all nomads to leave the area with their cattle or face their wrath.
But Dr Aning believes the situation “has been handled badly by the state of Ghana and communities facing these tensions and challenges”.
“I have been speaking about this for the past 16 years and typical of Ghanaians, we behave like ostriches, when the situation dies down we forget about it until it escalates”.
Responding to questions relating to crimes perpetrated by the nomads, the security expert said: “If these incidents are happening, then it is unfortunate, and once more it is even less acceptable and tolerable. But I also know how a minority, who do not have a voice can be made culprits of any crime or infringements against the law, and part of my concern is about ethnicising crime. That is when we tend to box this particular group of people into a special class, generalising our understanding and perceptions.”