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15.04.2004 Regional News

REGSEC to arrest facilitators of ethnic conflict

By GNA

Alavanyo, April 15, GNA - The Volta Regional Security Council (REGSEC) is to institute an incentive package to facilitate the arrest of instigators and financiers of the Alavanyo-Nkonya communal clashes over an 80-year old land dispute.

Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Volta Regional Minister announced this at separate meetings with Chiefs and people of Nkonya and Alavanyo on Wednesday when the Council toured the disputed area to ascertain and assess intelligence reports following escalation of hostilities last Sunday.

Mr Owusu-Yeboa, who is also the Chairman of the Council said any credible information "that could stand the test of time" would be rewarded, in view of reports of oaths sworn by the people not to divulge any such secrets.

He noted that this stance by the people was adversely affecting investigations, saying "restoring peace in the area relied solely with the two traditional areas".

The Regional Minister said the frequent accusations and counter accusations of threats of deaths, wanton loss of lives, properties, including destruction of farm produce could not be ascertained due to the lack of credible information.

Mr Owusu-Yeboa urged the chiefs and people to co-operate with the security personnel maintaining the peace in the area as their preoccupation was to protect life and property. Brigadier-General Joseph Boateng Danquah, General Officer Commanding the Southern Command of the Ghana Armed Forces urged the people to remain calm and seek legal or other means of settling the dispute and not to resort to violence.

He entreated the security forces to exhibit the highest professional ability by being neutral and avoid over-fraternalisation. "The security personnel will not countenance intimidation from any quarters", he said.

Brigadier-General Danquah warned unlicensed manufacturers of guns in the area that the security forces would soon arrest them. Dr Kwabena Adjei, Member of Parliament for Biakoye said the dispute has assumed an economic conflict currently rather than land dispute because the land is a means of survival for the people.

He appealed to REGSEC to come to grips with the problems urging government to give political support to the solution of the dispute. Meanwhile, due to the recurrent attacks, the people who are predominantly farmers are denied access to their farms for fear of being killed.

Several Commissions, Committees and a judgement could not resolve the protracted land dispute between the Alavanyos and the Nkonyas in the Hohoe and Jasikan districts respectively. 15 April 04

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