General News of Thursday, 26 January 2017
Nomadic Fulani herdsmen at Agogo in the Ashanti Region are up in arms with police for what they say is indiscriminate killing of their cattle.
They allege police have been shooting the animals without provocation even in uncultivated areas of the land.
The Fulani menace has, since 1986, threatened the very existence of residents of Agogo.
Many lives and huge quantities of property have been lost but all interventions, including evacuation attempts; have failed to yield desired results.
Not even a court order in January, 2012, followed by a joint police-military eviction christened ‘Operation Cowleg’ has done the magic. In the midst of this stagnation, Fulani herdsmen and their cattle continue to terrorize local farmers and ravage their crops.
People have had to go to farm with police escort, as former Member of Parliament for Asante Akyem North, K wadwo Baah Agyemang, points out.
“The problem is still with us. We are living with the cattle rearers. Go to the Mankara, Kowireso, Pataban, Abrewapong areas; Mentukwa. They are still there.
They are fighting with the farmers. I am a farmer myself. It is awful that you go to your farm and the cattle have passed through your farm and destroyed your cultivation,” he complained.
The Fulanis however claim police shot over twenty cattle four days ago when they re-launched the ‘Operation Cowleg’.
Spokesperson Alhaji Mohammadu Wanjoe who has allegedly lost five cattle to the police action describes the action as unprofessional.
But Konongo Divisional Police Commander, Superintendent, Ohene-Boadi Bosssman, admits police have shot and killed three cattle in an operations within the past two weeks.
He however explains the action was taken to protect personnel who had come under attack by the animals who acted on orders of the herdsmen.
Superintendent Ohene-Boadi promise police will continue to prioritize the protection of human live and property, the fundamental basis of policing as it increase effort to drive Fulani herdsmen and their cattle away from Agogoland.
“It’s not that we are shooting the cattle without any professionalism. We are policemen, excuse my language we are not hunters. We are not there to kill. We are there to drive them [cattle] away.”
He however threw jabs and dare police critics to have an encounter with the Fulani herdsmen and their herds.
“If you have been there before, you will understand the situation. Sometimes you sit in Accra; you sit in where, you sit and you just talk. When you go to the ground, that is where you will understand the realities of the game. These Fulanis, they talk these animals and the animals take instructions. Before you realize, they are coming on you so police had to fire warning shots to scare them”. Supt Ohene-Boadi lamented.
Residents of Agogo fear killing of cattle by police could result in reprisal attacks from the Fulani herdsmen.
The former Member of Parliament wants to see change in approaches in dealing with the Fulani menace. He proposes police teams should be stationed in the bushes rather than be at home to quell further Fulani destructions