Mayhem at Gukpe Naa Palace
...Police Arrest 10 Protesters
The Police Rapid Deployment Force in Tamale on Friday arrested 10 people after fighting broke out at the Gukpe Naa’s Palace in Tamale.
The fight, between palace guards and youth of choggu, who violently besieged the palace to demand release of their colleagues arrested earlier for launching a brutal arson attack on the residence of a sub-chief accused of wizardry.
Scores of the youth sustained injuries and many others fled leaving behind motorbikes and other belongings at the palace, in the open confrontation that was triggered by the illegal invasion of the palace and some comments made by the youth that the guards and warriors of the Gukpe Naa deemed “disrespectful”.
According to Secretary of the Gukpe Naa, Saha-Naa Abdul Rashid, the youth caused an abomination when they drummed and sung war songs into the palace and insulted the linguist, who received and was addressing them on behalf of the Tamale overlord.
“The arrival of the Rapid Deployment Unit was a divine ordinance otherwise people would have died,” the secretary said.
“When the Wulana (linguist) was addressing them, someone challenged him and people didn’t take it kindly, and that was where the manhandling started, so they beat some of them and some run away for their lives, and those who were beaten, police got to the scene and took them to the police station,” Saha-Naa explained to Starr News in an exclusive interview Saturday morning.
About six suspects were arrested by the Tamale police after the youth on Wednesday midnight attacked and torched the house of a 70-year-old Issahaku Abdulai, chief of Salamba, at Choggu, accusing him of being a wizard and responsible for their brother’s involvement in a motorbike accident on April 2.
The youth had early raided the house and caused damages weeks ago after alleging the sub-chief threatened to “deal with” their brother who he had an encounter with and police came in to investigate the first attack.
The police, however, was forced to abort the investigation when the sub-chief reported the matter to the Gukpe Naa, who ordered him to withdraw the case from the police for a resolution at his palace.
Few days later, on Wednesday night, the youth raided the house again while the sub-chief and his family were asleep and attacked them with stones and other objects before setting the building on fire after their brother allegedly threatened by the chief, had a minor motorbike accident elsewhere in the metropolis.
In that deadly assault, according to witnesses who spoke to Starr News, the youth surrounded the house with weapons and disconnected electricity power before pounding it with stones and sticks and set the entire house on fire, warning to attack anyone who would call the fire service or police.
The sub-chief and his family managed to escape through a backdoor and few hours later, the Operation Calm Life force of the police arrived and managed to arrest two individuals. Four more were arrested later on Thursday.
Furious by the arrest, the youth staged a street protest without any notice, to complain to the Gukpe Naa and demand the immediate release of their brothers, however, the manner chosen to express their demand sparked extreme disgust.
“On Friday, instead of either sending a delegation to the palace through Choggu Naa, they didn’t do that; they mobilized, they were wearing red bans and scarfs, chanting and beating war drums to Gukpe Naa’s palace. People got alarmed when they started throwing stones at onlookers and said if we don’t inform the Gukpegu palace, they would take them by surprise, so quickly they called and informed the palace for that matter they should brace themselves for it.
“So quickly people in the area said no we can’t also sit down for the palace to be attacked, so they mobilized and were waiting”, Saha-Naa explained further, saying that the Linguist only sought to find out why the youth were in red and the motive behind the war drums.
“Someone got up and said we will do it again,” according to the secretary that angered the guards to attack the protesters.
Saha-Naa Abdul Rashid condemned what occurred at the palace and cautioned the youth to always eschew violent confrontation as a vehicle to resolutions but also urged the police to thoroughly investigate what he called a direct attack on the Gukpe Naa by a section of disgruntled subjects.
He said the palace has drawn enough bitter lessons from past incidents elsewhere across the country and would not allow to be caught off guard.
He recalled the unfortunate incidents at the Gbewaa palace in Yendi and other in Bimbila and commended the guards and residents for defending the palace.
“The security agencies would have to investigate this, because you and I are not to know what exactly happened but we have seen that their physical appearance was sending bad signals; their moves, drumming radiated fears so certainly when you see such things, there are two things; if you cannot withstand it, you withdraw,” he indicated.
“If the youth go back to the drawing board to think about the way they moved to the palace wasn’t the best, so let’s go and see how best we can amend this thing. The palace is for everybody,” the secretary suggested an apology from the youth to appease the Gukpe Naa, his elders and palace.
Attacks on individuals over witchcraft allegations, causing premature death and misfortunes, continue to rise in the Tamale metropolis, with aged women being the largest victims of the allegations.
In the last three weeks, more than six people within Tamale have had their lives and properties threatened by mob who accused them of either killing or causing strange ailments of their relatives. Some have been rendered homeless, lost unquantifiable properties and others hospitalized in the process.
These cases are rarely reported to the police and mostly handled by traditional authorities or family heads.
Accusers are always dragged before these authorities for permission to see a witch doctor to establish whether the person possess black magic, and confirm or otherwise the specific allegation.
If the witch doctor confirms against the accuser, the victim is then handedover to him/her to treat and if the ailment exacerbate or the victims dies, the victim is then attacked and beaten, ostracized or even killed.