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Chereponi, Saboba placed under curfew

BY: Mohammed Fugu

The Minister of the Interior on the advice of the Northern Regional Security Council has with immediate effect imposed a 4 p.m to 7a.m curfew on the Chereponi and Saboba towns and their environs.

A statement signed by the Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, and issued in Accra yesterday, January 3, 2019, explained that the “imposition of the curfew follows the outbreak of violence in the towns arising from clashes between two ethnic groups, the Konkombas and Chokosis”.

It urged the chiefs, elders, opinion leaders, the youth and people of the areas to exercise restraint in the face of the challenges confronting them and to channel their energies through non-violent means into ensuring peace.

It also announced a total ban on all persons in the affected communities and its environs from carrying arms, ammunition or any offensive weapon and warned that any person found with any arms or ammunition would be arrested and prosecuted.

Situation report

Meanwhile, Mohammed Fugu reports that the violent clashes that erupted between the Konkomba and Chokosi ethnic groups at Naduni in the Saboba District in the Northern Region on Monday, December 31, 2018, had escalated with several houses, barns, livestock and properties in communities in the Chereponi District and some parts of the Saboba District burnt.

Naduni lies on the boundary between Saboba and Chereponi districts, but is administratively under the Saboba District.

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Reports suggest that seven communities have been razed down.

A number of people from both sides have sustained gunshots and machete wounds and have been rushed to health facilities in Saboba, Yendi and Mango in northern Togo for treatment.

Electricity supply to Chereponi was cut last Tuesday evening after three high tension wooden poles that carried power from Saboba to Chereponi were burnt down.

The police had maintained that no death had been recorded and that the situation was under control.

However, reports suggest that the conflict is escalating to more Konkomba and Chokosi settlements as they engage in deadly reprisal attacks.

Though it is unclear what might have triggered the violence, it has emerged that the incident is a renewed dispute over a piece of land.

Call for peace

The Konkomba Youth Association (KOYA) in a statement issued on Wednesday condemned the ethnic clashes between the Konkombas and the Chokosis and called for the deployment of more security personnel to the area to help restore calm.

The statement appealed to both the Konkombas and Chokosis to let peace prevail by using dialogue to settle their differences rather than resorting to violence.

The Chokosi community in Tamale on Thursday also called on the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and the Interior Ministry to beef up security in the area to protect lives and property.

Background

The Kokomba-Chokosi clash in the Naduni community arose in May 2018 over a piece of land the Kokombas believed was theirs.

The dispute was settled by a traditional authority, with the paramount chief of the area declaring the Chokosis as the rightful owners of the land.

However, the Kokombas rejected the ruling of the traditional authority and that of the paramount chief, resulting in the clashes.

A similar incident occurred in 2017, when two persons were shot dead with several others sustaining gunshot wounds in renewed land conflicts between the two ethnic groups at Naduni.

The clashes began after some alleged Kokombas attacked a Chokosi man who is said to have sent a tractor to plough part of the disputed land.