Sporadic Gunshots greeted Vice President John Dramani Mahama’s weekend visit to Buipe, capital of the Central Gonja district of Northern region, in what observers said was a protest by one of the rival chieftaincy factions in the area.
The ensuing melee broke out at the durbar grounds in Buipe as Mr. Mahama made his way to the town to cut the sod for a sheanut plant which kept him and his entourage for close to fifteen minutes before signals were given that the situation had been brought under control.
Some dignitaries and residents, who converged on the durbar grounds, awaiting the arrival of the Vice President and his entourage, took cover when aggrieved supports wielded their guns in the process.
A swift intervention by a combined team of police and military personnel averted the possible clash between supporters of the two chieftaincy factions to ensure that the Vice President’s scheduled event was not marred.
The Denkeri and Yarfa/Lenbu gates had been involved in litigation for months over who had the right to the Buipe Wura skin, after a series of bloodbaths between supporters of the two sides. The Yarfra Gate on the eve of the Vice President’s visit, issued a statement indicating that they were not going to regard Mahamah Abdulai Jinapor as their paramount chief, demanding that the Number Two Citizen paid courtesy calls on the leaders of both factions, or face the subsequent security problems.Their failure to offer him the recognition, the Lenbu Gate noted stemmed from the fact that the matter involving the skin in question was still pending at the national house of Chiefs and no one could therefore hold himself as the substantive paramount chief of the Buipe Traditional Accra.
On a follow-up to their concerns, the leader of the Yarfra Gate, otherwise known as the Lenbu Gate, Tempe Wura Bawa Gyewu, on Saturday, dressed in chieftaincy regalia, stormed the durbar grounds with is subjects and took his seat.
The Buipe Wura Mahama Jinapor II also arrived later with his entourage and saw his rival dressed in traditional regalia, only to be worn by the paramount chief of the area, generating an uproar in the process. Supporters of the two chiefs were said to be at each other’s throats over who had the right to don the traditional regalia, leading to the flexing of muscles.
On arrival at the grounds later, the Vice President directed the Northern Regional Minister and the Police Commander to urgently search and arrest those behind the confusion that had generated tension in the towns.
Their actions, he noted, could scare potential investors in the town and described them as saboteurs of the development of the north, indicating that their prosecution would serve as deterrent to those planning to cause mayhem in the north.
The two gates had been at each other’s throats for a very long time, with several litigations pending at the law courts and National House of chiefs over who was the right heir to the Buipe skin. In what looked like a media war recently, the Lenbu Gate accused John Abdulai Jinapor, an aide to Vice President John Dramani Mahama, of using his position to advance the cause of his father in the protracted chieftaincy brawl.
They appealed to Mr. Mahama to fire him in the interest of lasting peace in the area since this continuous stay in office would deprive the area of peace. The alleged that needless interference to order their warriors and youth to arm themselves to the teeth in defence against what they described as the “frequent intimidation, harassment and unnecessary arrest” of their members by the chief with the support from his son.
Violent conflicts had been raging in the Buipe Traditional area for over three years after the death of that late Buipe skin, leading to loss of several lives and property. As at press time, the Northern Regional Police Commander, ACP Awuni Angwubutoge, told Daily Guide that no arrests had been made but hinted that preliminary investigations would be conducted into the matter.
He condemned the rowdy behaviour of the supporters of both gates and warned that once the law catches up with them, they would be dealt with accordingly.
Source: Daily Guide
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