Bulwark Intelligence



Ghana’s Bawku Municipality, located between latitudes 11.058430 and longitude 0.240889 in the northeastern region, has, in recent years, faced a disturbing recurrence of conflict. For decades, the two largest ethnic groups in the area, the Mamprusi and Kusasi, have been locked in a dispute over who should control the town’s chieftaincy. The escalation of this situation, which began in November 2021, has continued unabated. A key catalyst for this spike in tensions can be traced back to the enthronement of the new Bawku Naa-Ba (Chief) in Nalerigu in February 2023.

The persistent conflict in Bawku poses multifaceted challenges to the region, with far-reaching implications to the nation. Peace serves as both a fundamental human entitlement and a catalyst for economic advancement, along with the attraction of foreign capital. Ghana, acknowledged historically for its political stability and societal concord, secured the prestigious position of the second most peaceful country in Africa in 2022, a recognition bestowed by the Global Peace Index (GPI). Nonetheless, the persistent turmoil in the Bawku Municipality poses a substantial challenge, endangering Ghana’s longstanding image of tranquility and security.

Security Concerns

Over the years, the Bawku Municipality has witnessed a disconcerting surge in a spectrum of security incidents, each posing significant challenges to the region’s stability and societal cohesion. These incidents encompass armed attacks carried out by unidentified groups, recurrent occurrences of armed robberies, communal clashes, instances of murder, the imposition of curfews, mass deployments of security forces, and an array of insecurity issues within the municipality.

The amalgamation of security issues goes beyond being an isolated event; instead, it signifies an intricate network of interconnected elements. The consequences of these occurrences are beyond just disrupting the daily lives of the local populace, creating an atmosphere of discomfort and division within the community. These multifaceted security challenges can significantly impede both socio-economic progress and political stability, influencing not only the immediate boundaries of the municipality but also resonating throughout the country.

Notable Incidents in 2023

The Bawku Municipality has been beset by a series of alarming security incidents, underscoring the gravity of the situation. On February 5th, the Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, revealed a sinister attempt to detonate an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeting a bridge within the municipality. This incident signaled an alarming escalation in the tactics employed by those perpetrating these security breaches.

On July 18th, a deeply unsettling event transpired when armed individuals ambushed a commercial vehicle traveling from Bolga to Bawku. The assailants set the vehicle ablaze and left the vehicle’s driver dead. The passengers, though managing to escape, experienced severe injuries. This episode unfolded near Bazua market on the Bolga-Bawku Road, further underscoring the audacity and brazenness of such attacks.

Yet another distressing incident was reported within the same municipality on October 24th. An armed attack occurred at a local drinking establishment near the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in Zebilla, resulting in three casualties, one of whom tragically lost their life. This incident was marked by intermittent gunfire from the armed attackers, eventually leading to a face-off with security forces at a checkpoint. Subsequently, the aftermath of this encounter required the continuation of security operations in the surrounding area.

Regrettably, the wave of violence has persisted, with a reported attack on National Security personnel along the Garu-Bawku Road as recently as October 24th. While precise casualty figures remain unconfirmed, it was reported that the assailants fired upon the bulletproof vehicle used by the security personnel, marking yet another alarming episode in the ongoing security crisis.

Government’s Response

A government-initiated program in 2014 , known as the “1-month amnesty” was established to address the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in the region. Under this initiative, residents of the Bawku Municipality were allowed to voluntarily exchange their firearms and ammunition for cash. This operation yielded some success, with a notable number of residents choosing to comply with the program.

However, on July 17th, in direct reaction to a surge in violence marked by intense gunfire echoing across the vicinity, a significant deployment of security forces was observed within the Bawku Municipality. This included the presence of armed soldiers, armored vehicles, and pickup trucks equipped with mounted machine guns patrolling the streets. These measures were implemented with the primary objective of containing and mitigating the prevailing violence.

Prior to that on May 5th, recognizing the urgent need for enhanced security, the government took a proactive step by deploying over 500 soldiers. This contingent comprised specialized units, such as special purpose investigation and intelligence teams, as well as crime combat teams. This deployment was intended to bolster security efforts and provide a robust response to the security challenges plaguing the municipality.


The imperative of ensuring the security and well-being of Bawku Municipality residents necessitates a range of strategic recommendations to tackle the current security challenges. These measures, rooted in community-oriented approaches and law enforcement enhancement, are outlined below:

Fostering Community Engagement and Dialogue:

  • Advocate for an environment of open and inclusive dialogue within the community to effectively identify and address grievances and disputes through peaceful channels.
  • Encourage collaboration among local leaders, religious figures, and community members to facilitate reconciliation and conflict resolution processes.

Strengthening Law Enforcement:

  • Foster collaboration between law enforcement agencies to enhance intelligence-gathering capabilities and proactively police the region, thereby preventing security incidents.

Amplifying Surveillance and Monitoring:

  • Allocate resources to the acquisition of surveillance systems and technology, which can be employed to monitor critical areas and identify potential security threats.
  • Institute an efficient reporting and response system to address security incidents promptly and effectively.

Promoting Community Policing:

  • Advocate for community policing programs that encourage collaboration between residents and law enforcement, thereby nurturing trust and facilitating the collection of vital local intelligence.
  • Deploy community liaison officers who can bridge the gap between the police and the community, ensuring smoother communication and cooperation.

Disarmament Initiatives:

  • Continue and expand upon initiatives to incentivize residents to voluntarily surrender their firearms through amnesty programs.
  • Implement stringent regulations and penalties for illegal possession of firearms, thereby reducing the prevalence of illicit weapons in the region.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top