19 Konkomba ‘Rebels’ Arrested in Chereponi
Security forces patrolling troubled Chereponi district in the Northern Region have arrested nineteen (19) heavily armed konkomba youth at a village where they were allegedly conspiring to launch an ambush reprisal against a number of villages inhabited by the chokosi minority.
The joint security forces were deployed to the area on Friday, June 02, after intense clashes between the two indigenous Konkomba/chokosi tribes at remote Kurgbeni and Nadoni villages.
The tribes have longstanding competing claims over a three-acre plot of land but tensions had laid dormant until that Friday when a chekosi man was attacked and injured after he attempted to work on the disputed land.
Two konkombas were killed at Nadoni and dozens were forced out after the chekosis carried out a raid to retaliate the attack on their kinsman.
The Konkombas in the area have since stayed violent and revengeful and seem to be almost constantly in a state of warfare with the chokosi .
Yendi Police Commander and Leader of the joint security mission in Chereponi, Chief Superintendent Peter Kofi Ayirezan confirmed the arrest, explaining that the troops on their routine patrols picked intelligence that residents of Kunjori were massing up with arms to attack some chekosis in their villages.
The police chief said security upon reaching the village rounded up nearly 20 people including the village chief, after a search at the chief palace found dozen of weapons, including 15 firearms.
“They [troops] embarked on a search and they found the weapons in the chief palace”, Sup.Kofi Peter told Starr News.
“This catchment area nobody is supposed to keep weapons so if you are found with a weapon, the police have every right to seize the weapon; and also have to explain how you came by the weapon and documents to show you have permission to keep that weapon”.
The commander explained they had no immediate evidence to support informants claim that Konkomba youth were preparing to attack chokosis in the area.
He said the suspects were taken into custody at Yendi but granted inquiry bail following the absence of a judge to hear investigators’ application for remand of the suspects.
The police have released the suspects without any formal charge and it is not clear how they intend to rearrest the suspects when the court resumes sometime next week.
Some chokosis are already protesting the release of the konkomba suspects calling it injustice against some 19 members of the tribe who are still behind prison custody after they were arrested for possessing weapons during last two week’s clashes between the feuding rivals.
“The court is not working, how can somebody be in your custody on Friday, Saturday, Sunday….You know the law does not allow that? You can keep somebody beyond 48hrs. This is a bailable offence and police review the case and the people have been granted bail, what offense has police committed?”, the police commander justified the release of the Konkombas and said the security forces will deal ruthlessly with any group who intends to forment trouble in the ongoing tension.