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25.01.2005 Regional News

Residents of Zuarungu and Tongo-Beo Clash Over Land.

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Bolgatanga, January 25, GNA - Sixteen suspects who were detained by the Bolgatanga police for questioning in connection with the clash last Saturday between some residents of Zuarungu and Tongo-Beo near Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, have been released on bail. In the wake of the clash, six houses and a kiosk were burnt while eight people who sustained cutlass wounds were treated and discharged at the Bolagatanga Central Hospital.

Chief Superintendent of Police Amadu Salifu, Regional Crime Officer, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga on the incident on Tuesday, attributed the cause of the conflict to land and chieftaincy disputes.

He said following the creation of the new Talensi/Nabdam District last year, some parts of Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga District fell into the new district during the process of demarcation.

He said in spite of their new position residents of those affected areas preferred being under Zuarungu to owe allegiance to the Tongo-Beo traditional area in the Talensi/Nabdam area. "Even during the elections some of them registered and voted at Zuarungu," he added.

Chief Superintendent Salifu said the situation came to a head when a youngman from Gonno on the Zuarungu side of the boundary started putting up a house in an area, which the Tongo-Beo chief said was part of his traditional area.

This degenerated into an argument between the two sides, which erupted into a violent confrontation between the chief of Beo and his supporters on one side and the people of Zuarungu-Gonno on the other, on January 22, 2005.

Armed military and police personnel were immediately deployed in the area by the Regional Security Committee (REGSEC) to restore order, while the police picked those believed to be directly involved in the riots for questioning.

He said the situation had been brought under control and that the police were leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to get to the bottom of the issue.

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