The Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has formed a joint mediation team that includes the leadership of Konkombas and Chokosis to lead the way to bring lasting peace to the Chereponi District in the Northern Region.
The team, which is led by the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Salifu Saeed, is expected to go into communities affected by the week-old conflict and engage feuding factions to smoke the peace pipe.
The conflict has claimed lives, displaced more than 5,000 people and destroyed property.
A non-governmental organisation, the Africa Centre for Security and Counter Terrorism, advised and provided technical assistance for the setting up of the mediation team.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Saeed has announced that the REGSEC is collaborating with the National Peace Council (NPC) to organise “a peace conference” to help bring lasting peace between Konkombas and Chokosis.
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He said the conference, slated for Thursday, January 10, 2019, was to engage different stakeholders to ensure peace among Konkombas and Chokosis in the Chereponi and the Saboba districts in the Northern Region.
Joint news conference
Mr Saeed made this known at a joint news conference held by the leadership of the Konkomba and the Chokosi Youth associations in Tamale yesterday.
The news conference was to call for the cessation of hostilities between the two ethnic groups and give peace a chance.
Mr Saeed explained that the peace conference would bring together opinion leaders and all those who mattered, as well as youth groups of the Konkombas and the Chokosis, to dialogue to bring about sustainable peace in the area.
He cautioned the people against latching on individual fights and turning them into communal fights, such as the current conflict between the two ethnic groups in the Chereponi and the Saboba districts.
The Northern Regional Minister said the raging communal violence was unnecessary and added his voice to the call by the youth groups to the people of the area to give peace a chance.
He said the REGSEC and the government would continue to ensure that there was absolute peace and normalcy in the area, stressing that the security forces would deal with those who wanted to disturb the peace that had been restored in the troubled area.
Mr Saeed appealed to organisations to support the government to send relief items to the affected people in the conflict zone, as many people had lost their homes and personal belongings, while stored food had also been destroyed.
A former Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, who is a Konkomba and was present at the joint news conference, called for the prosecution of those who would be found responsible for the outbreak of the communal violence between the two groups.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Chereponi, Mr Samuel Abdulai Gyabayite, also called for absolute peace and urged the people to bury their differences.
In an interview, the Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Security and Counter Terrorism, Mr Emmanuel Kotin, said the joint mediation team would collaborate with the security agencies to maintain peace in the area.
According to him, officers of the centre who were currently carrying out mediation activities in the conflict zone had counted about 28 people dead as a result of the conflict.
“I moved in to the Chereponi enclave to help bring peace to the area and I can confirm to you that 28 lives have so far been lost from both the Konkomba and the Chokosi sides.
The police may not have this figure because most of the dead bodies are buried immediately after they are discovered,” he said.
Mr Kotin commended the Northern Regional Minister for bringing relative peace to the area.
“He liaised with the security agencies to ensure that there is enough security in all parts of the troubled district and this has created a buffer for us to do our mediation activities,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Paramount Chief of the Kpassa Traditional Area in the Nkwanta North District in the Volta Region, Ubor Konja Tassan VI, has called on Konkombas in other parts of the country to restrain themselves from any reprisal attacks on Chokosis.
He said while efforts were being made to manage the communal conflict between the two ethnic groups in the Chereponi and the Saboba districts, it was important to avoid reprisal attacks to prevent clashes in other parts of the country.
"I call on all Konkombas to stay away from any attacks on Chokosis in their area because we are neighbours and must not allow the unfortunate situation to tear us apart," Ubor Konja appealed in an interview with the Daily Graphic.