The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana has expressed worry and disappointment over the recent breakdown of mediation efforts between natives of Alavanyo and Nkonya in the Volta Region, resulting in upsurge in hostilities in the area.
At least five persons were reported to have been gunned down in the latest violence within the past four months amid persistent gunfire in the two communities, the latest incident being a woman who was reportedly shot dead at the outskirt of Nkonya Ntsumuru last Monday.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana, Rt Rev. Dr Seth Agidi, who last Tuesday led a high-powered delegation to Nkonya and Alavanyo, appealed to the government and the Volta Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to beef up military and police patrol and visibility at the conflict area to forestall further atrocities and threats of instability in the area.
The delegation, which also included a member of the Volta Regional Peace Council, met with the paramount chiefs, elders and opinion leaders as well as some security personnel and religious groups in the two communities to assess the situation.
The E.P. Church, since 1983, has been playing a leading mediation role in the dispute between Alavanyo and Nkonya, considering the church’s huge congregational membership and major stake in basic and second cycle educational institutions in the two communities.
Rt Rev. Dr Agidi expressed concern about the conflict situation that seemed to derail the progress being chalked up in mediation efforts by various stakeholders including the National Peace Council, E.P. Church, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and other civil society groups.
He appealed to the aggrieved citizens of the two communities to consider the plight of innocent children who could not attend school due to the tension and end the protracted dispute, noting that: “With God it is possible to attain a lasting peace.”
Rt Rev. Dr Agidi underscored the need for the natives of the two communities to consider the negative impact of the conflict including the socio-economic development that had eluded them due to the tension and the curfew in the area.
He announced that the E.P. Church had proposed to meet with the aggrieved youth and other opinion leaders of Nkonya and Alavanyo at a forum in Accra to seek a lasting peaceful solution to the dispute.
The Paramount chiefs of the two communities, Nana Okorto Kofi III of the Nkonya Traditional Area, and Togbe Tsedze Atakora VII of the Alavanyo Traditional Area, have both reiterated their commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Togbe Tsedze Atakora, however, appealed to the government to revisit the composition structure of the Very Rev. Dr Buama-led mediation committee to enhance fairness and speedy resolution of differences.
The youth of the two communities expressed their disgust at the slow pace of the mediation process. While the youth of Nkonya were calling for the recognition and implementation of the last Appeal Court ruling in their favour to promote justice and fairness, their counterparts of Alavanyo complained about acts of prejudice being exhibited against them by some influential personalities.