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23.02.2009 Regional News

Fighting In Tamale

By Daily Guide
Fighting In Tamale

DCOP Ofosu Mensah-Gyeabour FIERCE FIGHTING has resumed in the northern regional capital, Tamale, days after the situation was reported to have been brought under control by the security agencies in the metropolis. 

The cause of the attacks at Gumbihini, a suburb of the metropolis which resulted in the razing down of about 7 houses, 1 Nissan pick up (NR663N), a Benz bus and motorbike was not known as at press time. The owners of the Benz bus and motorbike were immediately not known.

Worshippers at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Gumbihini were held hostage for close to two hours after service in view of the proximity of the church and the scene of the reprisal. Many of them, according to our sources, were reported to be seeking refuge with the priests until the situation was tamed.    

According to some residents, the uproar begun after the burial of one of the victims in last Tuesday's skirmishes, Abdul Nasir Rashid, at the Tamale central cemetery. Confusion reportedly broke out soon after the burial, between the feuding factions and a section of the youth who were returning to town, resulting in the fight.  

The Northern Regional Police Commander, DCOP Ofosu Mensah-Gyeabour, who confirmed the incident to DAILY GUIDE, said the situation had been brought under control but hinted that tension was gradually building in Lamashegu, another suburb of Tamale.  

He said some security personnel would be deployed to the area to restore some calm, promising that the situation would be brought under control. Security patrols have been stepped up in the regional capital to manage the violence that has been persistent for close to a week.

It would be recalled that a heated argument between two persons, which nearly ended in fisticuffs in the central business district was believed to have sparked the entire violence.  

Though it was not clear what the two were arguing over, it was believed to be in connection with politics.

A clash between supporters of the two preceded violent incidents as the well armed factions immediately engaged in a sporadic shoot-out and inflicted cutlass wounds on each other injuring seven.  

Rashid Nasir, initially among the injured, was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead later after some complications.  

His death triggered more violence in the city as a section of the youth believed to be his friends went on rampage setting ablaze houses believed to belong to members of the opposing side.  

Twenty persons have so far been arrested for various roles in the ensuing violence in the city. Eighteen of them were remanded by a Tamale Circuit court into prison custody to reappear on 4th August.

Charges of illegally possessing weapons, destruction of property and rioting were preferred against them.

The other two, who attempted smuggling weapons into Tamale are in police custody assisting in investigations and would be put before court after investigations.  

The Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has warned that any person who tries to undermine the peace in the area would not be spared.

From Stephen Zoure, Tamale