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17.03.2007 General News

Monkeys Hold Rally

By Daily Guide

It was all fun at Buabeng-Fiema on Tuesday, March 13, 2007- the day of the Nkoranza North by-election- when a troop of Mona and White Colobus monkeys gathered at the outskirts of the town as if they were also organizing a rally for the just ended by-election.

The Buabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary is located within the Nkoranza North constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The monkeys, numbering about 150, gathered around a big Mona monkey that seemed to be delivering a message to the troop of monkeys.

Members of Parliament (MPs), party functionaries and even policemen who were at the scene could not help but stand by the road to watch the interesting spectacle.

For the first time in the hectic campaign at the Nkoranza North constituency, both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) functionaries stood together to enjoy the scene.

Speaking to Daily Guide, Opanin Kwame Manu, an octogenarian, said because the monkeys had been living with the people from time immemorial, they copied whatever the residents did.

He said for example if one of them died, they filed past the dead monkey in a mourning mood.

According to Opanin Manu, when school children played football and shouted "goal", the monkeys shouted "woo".

Recounting the story behind the sanctuary, he said the monkeys belonged to a deity called 'Abudwo', which traveled with them to settle at their present location.

He said if any of the monkeys died, it was buried in a cemetery that was created for them when they settled at Buabeng.

When this reporter wanted to know whether the monkeys were not threatened by hunters, he said it was a taboo to kill any of them in the area and those who dared died mysteriously.

Opanin Manu cited a case where members of a certain spiritual church defied the deity and killed some monkeys.

According to him, all those who ate the meat of the monkeys died one after the other.

This case, he said, which happened about 40 years ago, had instilled fear in residents and no one would dare kill a monkey in the sanctuary again.

Buabeng-Fiema lies about 20 kilometers from Nkoranza.
According to the folklore of the area, the people of Fiema emerged from the Amowi caves to live in the town.

The twin town is surrounded by a virgin forest and can boast of electricity and a guest house.

A day never passes without bus loads of tourists coming to watch the monkeys.

On a visit to the sanctuary, this reporter saw a monkey stretching its hand to greet a whiteman who had fed it with bananas.