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23.12.2008 Crime & Punishment

Bolgatanga police detain 50 people over suspected arson

By GNA
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The timely intervention of Bolgatanga police and a detachment of Airborne Force averted what would have been a blood bath in a dispute between the people of Sherigu and Yikene near Bolgatanga on Sunday afternoon over land.

Briefing Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga on Monday on the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Alhaji Amidu Mahama, Upper East Regional Police Commander, said the elders of Sherigu claimed that the people of Yikene near Sumbrungu approached them many years ago for land to farm.

The piece of land where Yikene is now sited was given to them, and eventually they established a settlement there.

"According to elders of Sherigu, the people of Yikene recently began making claims of ownership of that land, and allegedly went to the Bolga-Naba, Martin Abilba III, to carry out acquisition procedures," said the Police Commander.

He said the matter came to a head at the weekend when allegations were rife that Bolga-Naba had gone to Yikene with a team of surveyors to demarcate the area for sale to residents of that community, an allegation Bolga-Naba dismissed as untrue when GNA contacted him for his side of the issue.

DCOP Mahama indicated that in spite of warnings from the Upper East Regional Police Command restraining the residents of Sherigu not to take the law into their own hands, they went ahead to storm Yikene community on Sunday, burning about four houses and killing more than 30 livestock including goats, sheep and fowls.

He said a team of armed security personnel was dispatched to the scene to contain the situation, and that in the process 50 persons were detained to assist the police in their investigations into the disturbances.

DCOP Mahama gave the assurance that the situation was under control, and urged residents of the area to go about their normal activities without fear.

As to the fate of the 50 suspects, he said they would be screened and those found to be linked to Sunday's disturbances prosecuted.

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