Social and economic activities have come to a standstill at Bimbilla, two days after calm was restored to the town. All public and private schools in the town have been closed down to protect the lives of both teachers and students. Some of the teachers, especially the non-indigenes, are said to have left the town following renewed chieftaincy clashes last Wednesday. Most shops have been locked up, while the usual criss-crossing of motorbikes and tricycles and vehicular movement are also missing. Two persons were reported dead in the conflict last Wednesday, but the security forces deployed to the area to maintain law and order found eight additional dead bodies last Thursday morning following an exchange of gunfire between the two feuding factions in the 10-year-old chieftaincy conflict. REGSEC visit When the Daily Graphic accompanied a delegation of the Northern Regional Security Committee (REGSEC), led by the Northern Regional Coordinating Director, Alhaji Issahaku Alhassan, on a visit to the town, it was observed that armed military and police personnel in military mowags and police vehicles had taken strategic positions in the town to maintain law and order. There were a few people in the streets, while mostly children and women were seen standing in front of their homes to watch the spectacle. The REGSEC delegation included the Northern Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Ken Yeboah; the General Officer Commanding the Northern Command, Brigadier General Stanley Alloh; the Tamale Air Force Base Commander, Group Captain Frank Hanson, and the Northern Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Ebenezer Tetteh. In most of the burnt houses visited by the REGSEC team, it was observed that half burnt foodstuffs such as yams, corn and other cereals were spread on the compound, providing excess food for goats, sheep, cows, fowls, among other animals and probably depriving humans of much-needed food. Recent conflict According to the police, last Thursday’s violent clashes resulted from a disagreement between the two feuding factions over the alleged enskinment of a sub-chief by Yelinbolingu-Naa Abdulai Dasana, the regent of Bimbilla. The action by the regent, according to the police, was contrary to an advice by the Bimbilla District Security Committee (DISEC) to stop the enskinment ceremony. Alhaji Issahaku Alhassan (left), the Northern Regional Coordinating Director, the Tamale Air Force Base Commander, and the General Officer Commanding the Northern Command, Brigadier General Stanley Alloh, touring some of the affected areas during the visit Police Speaking to the media after the REGSEC had held a closed-door meeting with the DISEC at Bimbilla, DCOP Yeboah said the visit was to assess the security situation in the town. Touching on the conflict, he said the Bimbilla Traditional Council wrote a letter, dated February 2, 2017, to inform the DISEC of its intention to enskin a sub-chief on Thursday, February 9, this year. On receiving the letter, the DISEC met on February 7, 2017 and resolved that it would allow the ceremony to go on. However, Mr Yeboah explained, the DISEC, after engaging the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) on the matter, was told to advise Yelinbolingu-Naa Abdulai Dasana against the enskinment, since the ceremony could re-ignite the conflict in the area. He said following the advice by the RCC, the DISEC met the regent and impressed on him not to go ahead with the enskinment ceremony, since the timing was not favourable. The regent, however, refused to listen to the DISEC advice, saying the traditional council had already made preparations towards the ceremony and could not suspend it. The police said the regent further claimed that he did not see the reason he should not perform his traditional duties and suggested to the DISEC to rather engage those who were against the enskinment. The DISEC members were said to have left the regent's palace around 3 a.m. on Thursday, February 9, 2017. The Bimbilla Naa went ahead to preside over the enskinment, but soon after the event, gunshots were heard in many parts of the town, leading to the death of 10 people, mostly women and children. Bimbilla Conflict Bimbilla is one area in the Northern Region that has suffered a series of chieftaincy conflicts. It was the centre of the Konkomba-Nanumba war that occurred in Ghana in 1994 and which claimed many lives. In the early 2000s, the town again experienced a chieftaincy dispute between the two factions of the same gate, the Bang-Yili and the Gbugma-Yili. In March 2013, the killing of the Overlord of the area, Naa Dasana Andani, in his palace by some unknown assailants again plunged Bimbilla into crisis, as a result of which a curfew was imposed on the town. The renewed clashes between the Bang-Yili and the Gbugma-Yili gates of the same royal family last Thursday led to a review of the existing curfew from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m.
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