Over 5,000 displaced in violence between Kokombas and Chokosis

General News of Monday, 7 January 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

2019-01-07

One of the houses destroyed as a result of the violent clashes in the Chereponi District

More than 5,000 people have so far been displaced following the outbreak of communal violence between the Kokomba and the Chokosi ethnic groups in the Chereponi and the Saboba districts in the Northern Region.

The displaced people, including women and children, are from communities that were completely burnt down during the violent clashes that erupted between the two ethnic groups on Monday, December 31, 2018.

Some of the affected communities are Naduni, Kulpeni, Atwema, Soduku, Konari, Asere, Konichiku, Damban, Nacham, Nabung, Yetile, Nabum and Gbung.

Many people also sustained severe gunshots and machete wounds in the communal violence that erupted over a piece of land.

NADMO

The Deputy Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in the Chereponi District, Mr Sulemana Amadu, who made this known to the Daily Graphic in Tamale, said NADMO had begun the registration of the affected people in the various camps set up in the conflict zone, while others had also fled to seek shelter in neighbouring Togo.

He said although calm had returned to the troubled areas in the Chereponi and the Saboba districts following the deployment of more military and police personnel to the affected communities, tension was still high.

More security

As part of efforts to contain violence in the conflict areas, more security personnel have been deployed to the two districts to maintain law and order.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Northern Regional Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr Mohammed Yusif Tanko, told the Daily Graphic that more police and military personnel were on Saturday flown in a helicopter from Tamale to the affected towns to beef up security there.

He said so far calm had returned to Chereponi and Saboba, providing the necessary environment for social services such as health care to be restored.

Arrest/death toll

He said the security personnel had also intensified patrols in all the affected communities.

“We have been able to cover all the affected communities and the situation has been brought under control. So far three persons who had arms and ammunition have been arrested in connection with the communal violence,” he said.

On the casualties, DSP Tanko said two deaths had been recorded so far, but some community leaders put the death toll at eight, as they claimed they had to bury the bodies immediately they were discovered and, therefore, did not report the deaths to the police.

Following the deployment of more security personnel to the area, some government workers, including nurses, are said to be returning to work.

Residents defy curfew

Meanwhile, the Minister of the Interior, on January 4, 2019, on the advice of the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC), imposed a 4 p.m to 7 a.m curfew on Chereponi and Saboba and their environs as part of measures to restore calm.

However, some residents defied the curfew and attacked some communities last Friday, torching several houses and properties.

Background

The Kokomba-Chokosi clash in Naduni 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.

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