Police have confirmed that one more person has died in renewed clashes between Kokombas and Chokosis in the Chereponi District of North East region.

This brings the number of deaths in the conflict to two.

Northern regional police spokesperson, ASP Mohammed Yusif Tanko who confirmed the news to Evans Mensah on Joy FM’sTop Story said five persons have been arrested and will be assisting the police in investigations.

ASP Tanko said although the situation has been difficult, more police and military personnel have been deployed to the area, “and we have been able to bring the situation under some control.”

The humanitarian crisis is affecting more than 100 displaced persons as ethnic hostilities between Konkombas and Chokosis in the North East region rages.

There is no food to eat and no water to drink for those who, in the last 24 hours, have fled fighting and their sources of livelihoods.

Children form a sizeable part of the displaced. There are images showing a police officer sharing a bottle of water with several thirsty children.

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Photo: A police officer helps children displaced by the violence

A man who is with the affected persons lamented conditions has been “devastating” and “alarming.” 

“I don’t know the word to use”, the man said.

The outbreak of violence is the second in the past three months as Chereponi residents opened the New Year with old violence.

The armed struggle is over ownership of land believed to be nothing more than two acres but with ancestral significance.

Chereponi is a Konkomba-dominated district. Chokosis, seen by the majority Konkombas as settlers, are a minority.

The Konkombas, who are one of the largest ethnic group in the North, until recently, did not have a paramount chieftaincy institution.

Land ownership is a pawn for political representation in the region. Where land is owned, chieftaincy is created, where chieftaincy exists political representation becomes viable in institutions like the National House of Chiefs and influence in political parties is enhanced.

The attacks and reprisals between the Konkombas and Chokosis (also Chakosi) have been going on since the colonial times.  A security report said a group of Chokosis attacked Konkombas last Sunday at Puloti village in the Chereponi district.

The recent fight has claimed one life while more than a hundred mudhouses have been burnt. The residents have fled to familiar places of peace even as far as neighbouring Togo.

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Police say they have arrested four persons. Police PRO for the Northern Region, DSP Mohammed Yusif Tanko told JoyNews Monday, reinforcements are expected from the regional capital Tamale.

JoyNews Northern regional correspondent Hashmin Mohammed explained that people live in far-to-reach communities in Chereponi. He said the absence of a motorable road network means helicopters are needed to reach the hotspots of violence as well as displaced persons.

The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has said it is helpless in sending relief items because hostilities are still going on.

The government has the report of a fact-finding committee formed to look into the fatal violence in January 2019. With another outbreak of violence, government has received a rude awakening to implement the report.