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Africa

Farmers, nomadic herdsmen clash in Ghana

In Ghana, security forces are struggling to contain clashes between sedentary farmers and nomadic Fulani herdsmen. Tensions appear to have risen after the killing of a 27-year old farmer.

Complaints lodged against Ghana's Fulani nomadic herdsmen include accusations of rape, armed robbery and the destruction of farmland.

Ghanaweb said that a 27-year-old man had been killed on Tuesday (02.02.2016) when he tried to prevent "some Fulani herdsmen with their cattle from invading his groundnut farm."

Relations between local residents and the nomadic herdsmen are tense and hopes of peaceful coexistence appear at the moment to be slim.

Kwame Anyimadu Anwi, a lawmaker from the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) who represents Asante Akim Central constituency in the Ashanti region, defends action taken by local residents to drive the nomadic herdsmen from the land and says the issue has persisted for many years.

"At some point it took about seven military men to flush them out. Later on, when there was a change in government, they came back and they haven't been flushed out for about eight years," he said.

Misunderstood?

The Fulanis claim they are being subjected to ethnic hatred. Professor Osman Barry, president of Ghana's Fulani community says their problems begin with difficulties in communication.

"Fulanis in the bush don't have access to media coverage so their voices are not heard and they can't get their messages across in a manner in which other people would understand their plight," he said.

He also says Fulanis are falsely accused of crimes. He challenged those making such allegations "to cite one single instance where Fulanis were arrested, sent to court and convicted and where the court was able to establish that these people were Fulanis."

Ghanaian woman winnowing grain

Ghana is one of Africa's model democracies but has been recently buffeted by economic woes

Local media report that 60 extra security personnel (military officers and police) have been sent to Agogo in Asante Akyem North District to "drive out nomadic Fulani herdsmen who have been terrorizing inhabitants of the area."

'Under control'

Outgoing Ashanti regional minister and security council chairman Peter Anerfi said regional police "had been directed to engage leadership of the various stakeholders in the conflict of Agogo and other communities to bring the situation under control."

Osman Barry said Ghanaians have to "try to streamline issues so that we can get back our lasting peace."

Ghana's parliament could discuss the conflict in the coming weeks.

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