Story: Samuel Duodu, Tuobodom
FIVE hundred residents of Tuobodom in the Brong Ahafo Region have been displaced as a result of the clashes that claimed three lives in the town.
Members of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) who visited the area to assess the situation on the ground also discovered that apart from the internally displaced persons, most able-bodied men, women and children had fled the town for fear of further reprisals.
Those displaced are being catered for by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).
The team, led by the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, visited some of the palaces of the traditional authorities and appealed to the various factions to lay down their weapons for the sake of peace and stability.
The indiscriminate shooting that characterised the clashes resulted in the death of three persons, while four others, including a policeman who sustained gunshot wounds and was admitted at the Techiman Holy Family Hospital, have been treated and discharged.
The disturbance followed the arrest of Nana Baffour Asare, a rival chief of Tuobodom who owes allegiance to the Golden Stool, by some youth of Techiman at the Wenchi High Court last Friday.
He was later handed over to the police.
The incident was also linked to an event in October 2008 when the convoy of the Techimanhene, Oseadeeyo Ameyaw Akumfi IV, was fired at while it was on its way to Tuobodom to join the Akyempimhene of Techiman and rival Tuobodomhene, Barima Obeng Ameyaw, to celebrate the Yam Festival at Tuobodom.
Relative calm had, however, returned to the town as of the time of the REGSEC visit last Sunday afternoon following the swift deployment of a contingent of police and military personnel to the area to maintain law and order.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo, who led the team to the palaces of Barima Obeng Ameyaw, the Tuobodomhene and Akyempimhene of the Techiman Traditional Area, and Nana Asare Baffour, the Omanhene of the Tuobodom Traditional Area, called on them to impress upon their people to exercise restraint and rather allow the security agencies to investigate the matter and bring the culprits in the shooting incident to book.
Nana Asare was not at his palace at the time of the team’s visit, as he was said to be with his lawyer in Sunyani. He had been granted bail for allegedly being the one who had masterminded the attack on the Techimanhene’s convoy to Tuobodom in 2008.
He is due to appear before the Fiapre Circuit Court today to respond to charges of attempted murder.
Barima Ameyaw owes allegiance to the Techimanhene, while Nana Asare derives his authority from the Golden Stool. Nana Asare’s elevation to the position of Paramount Chief of Tuobodom by the Asanteman Council in 1996 led to violent clashes between those who owed allegiance to the Golden Stool and those on the Techiman side, resulting in the death of three people and the razing of 45 houses.
The Techimanhene was said to have lodged a complaint with the police concerning the firing at his convoy, but some youth from Techiman rather felt the police were delaying investigations and, therefore, decided to arrest Nana Asare themselves and hand him over to the police.
When information on Nana Asare’s arrest got to his supporters at Tuobodom, they also took up arms, resulting in the sporadic shootings that led to the death of the three persons.
According to the Techimanhene, when the incident happened, he reported the matter to the police and even went ahead to submit a list of some of the alleged perpetrators to the police and National Security, but for more than two years now no arrest had so far been made.
He said the youth of the town, therefore, decided to arrest the perpetrators and hand them over to the police for the law to take its course.
Oseadeeyo Akumfi noted that until those perpetrators were arrested and brought to book, there would be no peace and, therefore, appealed to National Security to speed up its investigations and bring the culprits to book for peace to prevail in the area.
He also made a point that he would not cede any part of his people’s land, including Tuobodom, to any other authority and urged the government to intervene to ensure peace and stability, instead of looking on for the matter to degenerate into a full-scale war.