Fulanis living in the Afram Plains North district of the Eastern Region have expressed their delight with the arrest of the alleged perpetrators of Tuesday’s failed robbery of a bullion van at Maame Krobo, saying they feel exonerated after being stereotyped for years as criminals.
The incident involved an attack on a GCB Bank bullion van transporting cash from Nkawkaw to the Afram Plains on August 16 at Maame Krobo, with the driver of the van being shot dead by assailants. But the heist was foiled and two police officers and a civilian have been arrested subsequently for investigation.
The pastoralists have, however, stated that the fact that none of the culprits identified was of Fulani ethnicity was some proof that they had all along been wrongly accused of being behind armed robberies in the Afram Plains.
The Fulani have often been in the news for the wrong reasons, having clashed with locals on several occasions for setting their cattle into communal water sources and indigenes’ farms to drink and graze. Such conflicts have usually culminated in the shooting to death or rape of indigenes who confront such nomadic herdsmen.
In recent times, the transhumant Fulanis have also been fingered for highway robberies in the Afram Plains and in other parts of the country where they have a considerable presence.
But speaking to Accra News on Friday August 19, a Fulani elder at Donkorkrom, Mallam Idrissa Sambo, said Fulanis in the town would be meeting to schedule a demonstration against the police.
According to him, the policemen and civilian arrested after the attempted robbery had disguised themselves in caftans complete with native Fulani footwear hewn from spent lorry tyres to commit the criminal act, and felt that had the three men pulled it off, it would have only reinforced the perception that Fulanis in the Afram Plains had to be blamed for rising crime in the area.
We’ve always been unhappy [about the accusations against us] but today is a happy one because God has exposed the falsehood that it is the Fulanis [who have been involved in armed robberies in the Afram Plains]. There is no truth in all that; they (the police) were the ones committing such acts and blaming it on Fulanis.
He further stated such untrue allegations had defamed all persons of Fulani across the country. “But now Ghanaians will know we are not responsible for the robberies,” he noted.
Mr Sambo added that they would meet and decide on a date to hit the streets in a demonstration against police prior to going to court, assuring that they would restrain their tribesmen from attacking any policeman in the area.