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15.04.2004 General News

GAF urges feuding ethnic factions to resolve dispute

By GNA

Nkonya, (V/R), April 15 GNA - Brigadier-General Joseph Boateng Danquah, General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Southern Command of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) on Wednesday urged the feuding factions in the Nkonya and Alavanyo land dispute to harness their resources towards the development of their areas rather than resorting to violence and destruction of lives and property.

He said battles have now assumed developmental and investment dimensions and admonished that it would be unwise for the people to continue to pursue agenda that would be at the peril of their own existence.

Brigadier-General Danquah made these remarks when he met the Chiefs and people of Nkonya and Alavanyo at separate meetings following renewed hostilities between them last Sunday, over the 80-year old land dispute. He entreated the people to give peace a chance, saying the era of revenge, violent destruction of lives and property should give way to a period of development, education and improving on their socio-economic

Brigadier-General Danquah recounted how such incidents have degenerated into unending civil wars and its debilitating effects in some parts of the sub-region and the African continent.

He therefore, exhorted them to seek legal or other means of redress rather than resorting to arms and violent acts.

The GOC appealed to the people of the two traditional areas to co-operate with the security personnel keeping the peace as their duty was mainly to maintain the peace and remained neutral.

Brigadier-General Danquah warned the people that the Military- cum-Police peacekeepers would not countenance any form of lawlessness and intimidation that would further make the already fragile situation worse.

The Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa reminded the people of the consequences of continued hostilities in the area saying, "the over 80-year land dispute between them would have long been resolved if violence was the appropriate means for arriving at an amicable settlement".

"The Executive arm of government does not determine or resolve disputes but this falls within the province of the law courts", he said. He said the various claims held by the traditional areas could be contested by legal means or otherwise, adding that violence would only compound the situation and visit an untold hardship including poverty on the people.

Mr Owusu-Yeboa passionately, appealed to the factions to exercise maximum restraint in the face of provocation to breach the peace and re-assured the people that government would remain neutral while other means and avenues for resolving the disputes were explored. The Chiefs and people of the two traditional areas at separate fora at Nkonya-Ahenkro and Alavanyo-Kpeme traded accusations and counter accusations at each other for being responsible for the violence and the volatile nature of the dispute.

Accompanying the GOC were, Mr B. G. Dery, Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations, Mr Kofi Duku Arthur, Volta Regional Police Commander, Major Abass Seidu, Officer Commanding the 66 Artillery regiment in Ho and other Heads of National Security Apparatus.

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