The Fulani Community in Ghana says they are being maltreated by the Ghanaian government and the larger populace following disagreements that have arisen between local farmers and nomadic herdsmen in some parts of the country.
The long-standing dispute between nomadic herdsmen and farmers has reared its ugly head again especially in the Agogo area in the Ashanti Region, where a task-force of police and military personnel, is currently moving the herdsmen and their cattle from the area.
The exercise known as Operation Cowleg, has seen several cattle killed by the task-force, whereas hundreds have been moved out of the town.
During the operation, three military officers and a police officer were allegedly wounded through gunshots. The suspicion is that, some of the herdsmen, who are unhappy with the operation, may have laid ambush to attack the security personnel.
Whilst the personnel are responding to treatment, the Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant Gen. O. B Akwa, who visited the area, has warned that the government will not be intimidated, and will respond in equal measure to any attack from the herders.
He also stated that they will continue with the exercise to evict the herdsmen and their cattle from the Agogo area.
Speaking to Citi News ahead of a news conference later today [Friday], the Head of the Fulani Community in Ghana, Sheik Osman Barry, described as inhumane the treatment meted out to some of their members.
He said they will use the occasion to voice out their concerns about their lives in Ghana and also highlight their contribution to the development of the country.
“We have to give the history of the presence Fulanis in Ghana, our economic contributions and the sacrifices we’ve been making in order to ensure that development takes place and also the challenges that we are facing… Definitely, we feel that we are just being maltreated, sidelined and justice is not being served to us,” he said.
Suggestions are that, for most of the herdsmen, they have only been hired by people to take care of the cattle. However they are the ones often attacked when the cattle are reportedly destroying farms, whiles the real owners including politicians and other influential persons in society, are left off the hook.
During the recent deployment of some 200 additional personnel to Agogo and Sekyere Afram Plains districts after the military and police officers were injured at Agogo, a statement signed by a Deputy Minister of Information, Curtis Perry Kwabia Okudzeto, said the joint security team has been tasked to “push back the herdsmen from new areas they have occupied, arrest perpetrators of recent acts of violence for prosecution, and augment the efforts of Operation Cow leg, an ongoing security operation aimed at dealing with the activities of herdsmen in the area.”
An International relations analyst, Dr. Vladimir Antwi Danso, has said Operation Cow leg, a task-force tasked by government to deal with nomadic herdsmen allegedly causing havoc in parts of the country, is bound to fail again.
According to him, those are just knee-jerk approaches to the issue which needs proper solution.
Ghana has failed to put in place a ranching policy, and has constantly resorted to this approach of evicting the herdsmen from one location to the other, which on reality yields no results.