By Ernest Addo
Unassailable information reaching the New Crusading Guide indicate that another series of attacks have been launched by bandits in the Upper East on passengers on two tomato trucks as well as another haulage truck, killing two people and wounding one.
Ghana National Tomato Traders and Transporters Association GNTTTA sources say the tragedy occurred last Friday at dawn around a community called Tongo, a few kilometres into Bolgatanga.
The victims, according to official sources, are Dominc Baah, Vehicle No AS 1204 – 16, attached to buyers at the Accra Hearts of Oak Park branch.
Baah was brutally attacked and got seriously wounded after struggling with the bandits on the lonely stretch to Navrongo and Paga.
The second incident, which occurred the same period and along the same stretch, involved another cargo truck manned by Alhaji Moro, who was shot dead in cold and been sent to the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital morgue.
That truck also ferries traders from the same branch in Accra.
The driver’s assistant, Obed Mensah, who managed to survive the shooting incident, got seriously wounded and was rushed to the Bolgatanga Hospital.
In yet another incident, a cargo truck which was loaded with cement, was attacked and its driver gunned down, according to Bolgatanga local sources. Details of the victim was sketchy as we went to press, but New Crusading Guide gathered that police are on the alert and have launched investigations to track the bandits.
Incidentally, the suspected crime occurred not far from a Customs checkpoint, about a mile away from the scene of the incident.
Barely a week ago, The New Crusading GUIDE reported a series of what we believe may be orchestrated attacks on tomato traders and drivers moving into the Upper East and Burkina Faso to buy tomatoes. Around this time, Ghana and Burkina Faso shares the lean season trade though, by March, tomato fields in the Upper East get empty, despite the presence of irrigation systems.
Worse still, its youth, according to local government sources in the region, prefer goro work, processing papers for the tomato economic actors than engaging in agriculture.
Upper East has an aging population in agriculture, with its educated youth more interested in jobs in the security agencies, nursing, teaching and the rest.
Following the first incident, the GNTTTA sent a petition to agencies of national security and trade for intervention, only for the bandits to repeat to repeat the serial attacks in which over C500,000 has been lost to the bandits.
Cargo trucks and informal economic actors carrying cash on them and being robbed along most of the corridors is a strange feature of the cross border trade in West Africa.
According to our official sources, the Association is firing another petition to government and its relevant agencies of agric, security and trade, threatening to go on demonstration, but for the COVID-19 restrictions.
The attack comes in the wake of government efforts to create the Pwalugu Development Authority as a major food security and agribusiness enclave in the sub-region to generate jobs and improve infrastructure, lives and livelihoods.