UNHCR’s West African Regional Representative, Ms Liz Ahua has paid a courtesy call on the Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Saeed Salifu in Tamale to discuss issues concerning Ghanaians from the Northern Region who have fled to Togo due to traditional conflicts. The purpose of her visit was to identify the root causes and how the government and traditional leaders can help resolve such conflicts as well as prevent them from happening. It was also to find ways of ensuring that family members who have fled due to such conflicts feel safe to return.
Ms Ahua was accompanied by officials from the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB).
In his remarks, the Regional Minister noted that such conflicts do not speak well of the region and the country as a whole, especially when the conflict tends to make indigenes cross boundaries to other countries. He said Bunkpurugu is now calm, a result of which the President, His Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo has recently toured the area recently (when the chiefs and people celebrated the continuous one-year peace that they had enjoyed) and using them as a case study for other hotspot locations within the Northern region to emulate the example. He said as a result of the current peace in the area, the Chief of Nankpanduri has recently received a plaque from a local NGO in recognition of the efforts at maintaining peace and security in the area.
The Regional Minister called on Ms Ahua to use her office to encourage Ghanaians who fled to Togo as a result of some of the conflicts to return home as there is peace and security.
The Deputy Minister, Hon. Solomon Namlit Boar and other regional officers were present at the meeting.
Ms Ahua also called on the Chief of Nankpanduri, Naba David Kansuk Na Golbil where she reiterated the need to find local solutions to conflicts. The Chief welcomed the delegation and stated how happy he was about the visit.
The chief mentioned he does not know if the conflicts are their making or thirst for political power as sometimes fuels it. He made mention of three communities that had gone through such a conflict but are now at peace with each other. “This peace came to be as a result of carrying out an ancient traditional rite called the “Blood Burial” he noted. He went on by saying that locations where this blood burial have taken place have seen indigenes returning to rebuild their homes and carry on with their lives. Such persons, when they return, are welcomed by their extended family members.