Government Raises Red Flag Over Arms Movement To North

Mark Woyongo, Defence Minister
There is a significant arms movement into the three northern regions, the Defence Minister, Mr Mark Woyongo, has said.

He said intelligence picked up indicated that the arms were mostly from southern Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo to the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

Mr Woyongo has, subsequently, asked security personnel to thoroughly search all vehicles, both private and commercial, to ensure that illegal arms were seized.

He wondered how the people who were complaining about poverty and underdevelopment could still find the money to buy arms to foment trouble. Security conscious

Mr Woyongo, who is also the acting Interior Minister, told the Daily Graphic in Accra last Tuesday after his return from Bimbilla that it was high time Ghanaians took their personal security seriously.

He said leaving security matters to the security agencies alone was not enough, adding, ‘Never take things for granted but report any suspicious characters and movements to the police or other security agencies for action.’

‘We have a stake in ensuring that we live in a secure environment. Please give information to the security agencies to deal with miscreants in our midst,’ he stated. Bimbilla situation

Mr Woyongo said the situation was calm in Bimbilla, as the increase in security personnel there had calmed the nerves of the residents who were initially apprehensive of reprisal attacks.

According to him, the chief’s palace was riddled with many bullets.

He said the assailants were said to be living three houses away from the late Bimbilla Naa’s compound. Burial

Meanwhile, the government has acceded to the request of the family of the late Bimbilla chief, Naa Andani Dasana, to release his body to them for early burial as custom demanded.

As a result, the body will be released to the family today after an autopsy at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. It is expected to be interred at the Royal Mausoleum in Bimbilla on Thursday.

According to Mr Woyongo, ‘this is after all the necessary consultations have been made and the autopsy completed on schedule’. Decision

The decision was arrived at after the minister had visited Bimbilla last Monday to commiserate with the chiefs and the people of the area, who pleaded with the government for the early interment of the body of the chief.

He was also there to ascertain the security situation in the town.

In the minister’s team were the Deputy Interior Minister, Mr James Agalga; the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Alhassan, and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Northern Command, Brigadier General Joseph Boampong.

The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Limuna Muniru, accompanied the delegation.

Although Mr Woyongo described the area as serene, he indicated that ‘tension was still high’ and, therefore, admonished the people to remain calm as efforts were made to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack. Contract killing

According to him, the attack was a well-orchestrated one and that it involved about 30 well-armed ‘hired assassins’ with sophisticated arms, including AK 47 assault rifles.

He added that the suspects were harboured in a nearby house close to the palace for some days to monitor the activities of the chief, after which they eventually struck last Thursday evening.

Mr Woyongo attributed the actions of the attackers to a security lapse, since personnel stationed in the area woefully failed in their responsibility of gathering intelligence and acting on it to prevent the mayhem. Arrests

Seventeen suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder.

They include the Bimbilla District Chief Executive, Alhaji Mohammed Ibn Abass, and the District Police Commander, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr C.K. Tettteh, both of whom are at the National Security Secretariat in Accra assisting in investigations.

Source: Daily

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