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Chereponi: Three Dead, Two Injured in Communal Violence

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Intense fighting over land erupted Saturday dawn and still raging between Konkomba and Chekosi ethnic groups living at Kurgbeni and Nadoni in the Chereponi district of the Northern Region.

It has so far left three people dead, a paramount chief in the area has confirmed to Starr News.

The communal fighting has also left at least two persons with gunshots wounds and many houses destroyed by fire.

Starr News sources in the far-flung villages said the violence was sparked following an attack on a chekosi man who went with a tractor to plough part of the disputed land yesterday.

The chief said the land dispute was resolved last Monday in favour of the chekosis at the palace of the paramount chief of Chereponi but triggered after the chekosi man was butchered yesterday for attempting to farm on the land which both ethnic parties in the area laid claim to.

“They brought the matter to Chereponi paramount chief palace and solved the problem. We said the land belongs to the chekosi people. The Wapuli chief and others all agreed and appealed that the chekosi people should give them some of the lands to farm but last Monday when they went to share the boundary, the konkomba people refused that they won’t agree.

“Yesterday evening, somebody sent a tractor to farm his own field, then the Konkombas attacked him there and butchered him and this morning tension came there and they started shooting and police went there and they chase them away, so they have killed three people now”, the chief told Starr News.

A resident of one of the communities said Konkombas raided the houses of the Chekosis with guns, spears and sharpened sticks and set them on fire whiles amidst sporadic shooting.

Police and soldiers from Yendi, the divisional command, have been deployed, Starr News has learned after the local police in the area were allegedly chased away by the combatants.

The Casualties have been brought to the Chereponi polyclinic and residents said the toll may rise as the fighting was still ongoing.

The District Chief Executive and police were not available to comment.

More than 500 people were displaced in April last year in violence between chekosi and Bimoabas in the area. Two were butchered in 2016  between the same ethnic groups over fishing in the Kpempi river, a water source of the river Oti.

The Chereponi District,  a known hotspot in the region has very few police personnel and anytime there is trouble security forces always have to travel many hours on an extremely poor road to maintain calm.

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