National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah has arrived in the Northern Region to convene a high-powered security meeting with the Chief Executives for the West Gonja and Bole Assemblies following rising chieftaincy tensions there.
The Minister is scheduled to meet the two chief executives in Tamale, together with the Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed and his Security Council members, to institute stepped-up security measures to avert an outbreak of potential clashes between factions in the areas.
Tensions have been simmering in Bole for nearly a week now after a symbolic ruling by a judicial council of the Regional House of Chiefs, on the prolonged chieftaincy misunderstanding in Mandari, an important nearby community within the Traditional Area, where chiefs automatically ascend the Bole Skin upon vacancy.
Two royal individuals from the Safope gate laid claims to the Mandari Skin and confusion broke, in June last year, over the rightful candidate of the Bole Skin, after the chief, Bolewura Awuladese Pontomprong Mahama (II) died.
There were reports of violent lockdown and escalating squabbles among supporters of Abdalai Issahaku Kant and his rival brother, Abubakari Abutu, forcing the deployment of armed forces to the district capital.
The latter had been allegedly appointed by the late chief of Bole as the rightful candidate for the Mandari skin, but the Yagbonwura, overlord of the entire traditional area, is alleged to have refused to give his blessing and rather settled on the former, which sparked the dispute.
However, after more than seven years of litigations, the House of Chiefs finally passed its judgement, ruling in favour of Issahaku Kant. The ruling is said to have renewed the tensions in the area, already known for chieftaincy bloodbath. Nine people were killed including a chief who was beheaded, at Kilbelma after clashes over chieftaincy and land.
In the West Gonja Municipal capital, Damongo, a similar situation has caused sporadic clashes between rival factions. A candidate chosen and installed by the traditional kingmakers after the death of the Damongowura was once rejected by the Yagbonwura, who again preferred a different candidate.
Both authorities went on to separately supervise coronation ceremonies, which has since created divisions, resulting in intermittent violence.
Currently, nearly some 20 combined security forces are deployed in the town to prevent escalations, after violence on Thursday, between two youth groups. The groups poured into the streets with weapons after a misunderstanding over the fight against illegal logging and charcoal burning, however, the Municipal Chief Executive, Saeed Jibril, told Starr News the violence had “chieftaincy undertones”.
The National Security Minister is, therefore, meeting with the two District, Municipal Chief Executives, to amongst others, deliberate on measures to ensure maximum security in the two regional hotspots.
Details of the meeting are little but two sources, who will be sitting in this meeting, said the agenda could not be far from the chieftaincy tensions in the two important towns in the yet to be created savanna region.
The Bole District Chief Executive, Madam Alele, is likely to also appeal to the minister to provide her military protection to be able to visit some far-flung mining communities in the district, such as dollar power town, Kui, where some disbanded Ivorian rebels are based, terrorizing gold miners and residents.
No government official has successfully been able to visit the area for many years now. A soldier was killed and many others were injured in a deadly ambush on the convoy of the District Security Council, led by its then chairman, Jaajah, during a fact finding mission.