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12.07.2005 General News

Tension looms in La over Homowo celebration

GNA

Accra, July 12, GNA- Tension began looming in La a suburb of Accra on Tuesday evening as two raging factions vowed to shed blood over the celebration of this year's Homowo festival.

The factions at 2000 hours positioned themselves in large numbers at the La-Kpa We, the holy shrine, where the Homowo custom is usually performed amidst chanting of war songs and the issuing of threats. One group led by the La-Kpa Wulomo, the traditional chief priest, together with his supporters had appeared at the shrine to perform the customary rites to usher in the celebration of the festival. But the other group comprising five out of the seven quarters of La was against the celebration of the festival.

When Ghana News Agency got to the scene around 2030 hours, groups of people mainly youth were seen arriving in vehicles wearing red tee shirts and wielding knives.

After a few disturbances and casting of insinuations, armed police and military personnel arrived at the scene, a development that calmed down the situation a little, but the factions stood their grounds with some shouting: "The police can't stop us".

Explaining their side of the issue to the GNA, the Wulomo, Nii Yemote Odoi VI, said problems and misunderstandings had plagued the La tradition for some time now, but that did not prevent the celebration of Homowo.

He said: "La is not for one person but for all of us," and asked: "so if we have to celebrate the Homowo and others feel they won't celebrate it then why are they preventing those who want to celebtate it?"

Nii Odoi VI said: "Several but small things have led to the development, but they are things which cannot be just said. "We are here to start the celebration to day, but they (the opposing faction) said they would not allow us."

He said: "We don't fight in La but we want everyone to know that whether it rains or the sun shines, we shall celebrate this year's Homowo".

When the GNA went to residence of the La Mantse for his side of the story, he was reported to have gone out. The La District police commander who also arrived at the scene refused to talk to the GNA.

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