Govt won’t intervene in chieftaincy issue but ruthless with law breakers

BY: Doreen Andoh
 Mr Ambrose Dery — Minister of the Interior
Mr Ambrose Dery — Minister of the Interior

The government has made it clear that it will not interfere in the renewed chieftaincy conflict in Bimbilla.

However, it said it would not shirk its responsibility to maintain law and order and ensure the safety of the people in the area.

Briefing journalists in Accra yesterday, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, said consistent with its mandate to ensure the security in the area and the safety of the people, the government had despatched 170 security officials, made up of 130 police and 40 military officers to the area.

He said 13 other detectives had been deployed to enhance the ongoing investigation and beef up security there.

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Additionally, he said the government had reviewed the curfew in the area from 8 p.m.— 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Mr Dery said the decision by the government not to interfere in the situation was because the tension was underpinned purely by chieftaincy conflict.

He stated that investigations were currently ongoing to  ascertain the actual situation on the ground, and added that “17 people have been arrested to facilitate investigations.”

He called on all aggrieved persons to resort to the use of lawful procedures to address their grievances with appropriate bodies such as the Northern Region House of Chiefs, the National House of Chiefs and the courts of law.

“We will deal ruthlessly with anybody who tries to take the law into his or her own hands,” he said.

The minister said even a single life lost was too much and, therefore, the government, in collaboration with the security agencies, would ensure that no more lives were lost.

Mr Dery confirmed that 10 lives had been lost already (six women, three children, all four years old, and one man) while 18 others had sustained varying degrees of injury.

 He described the deaths as regrettable and said all efforts would be made to prevent further carnage in the area.

The cause of the tension

Highlighting the cause of the tension in Bimbilla, Mr Dery said the Nanumba Traditional Council informed the Nanumba- North  District Security Committee (DISEC) of the Bimbilla Regent’s intention to enskin a chief on Thursday, February 9, 2017.

“ DISEC met with the regent on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 and cautioned that the security situation in Bimbilla was not conducive for the enskinment yet and he was told to hold on until further dialogue on the matter,” he said.

He said the Regent of Bimbilla refused to hold on to the enskinment unless he was stopped by a court injunction.

The Minister said the regent went ahead with his intention on Thursday February 9, 2017 without notifying the police, which resulted in the tension and tragedy in the area.