The Northern Development Forum (NDF) has appealed to all factions involved in the land dispute in the North Gonja District in the Savannah Region to cease fire while efforts are made to ensure an amicable settlement of their differences.
The forum also emphasised the need to intensify initiatives to minimise linguistic differences among the people in the north and rather highlight their major similarities that would unify them for accelerated development in their respective communities.
“We urge all to work assiduously with the various traditional councils and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to preach peace and advocate dialogue in an event of boundary disagreements and land disputes.”
“The North Gonja clashes must not be allowed to define the future relations between two hitherto friendly neighbours.
The peoples of Northern Ghana have a common enemy called poverty and we need to combine all our efforts and energies to fight it,” the forum added.
The appeal was made by the Chairman of the NDF, Major Albert Don Chebe (retd), in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday.
The forum further said the frequent disturbances in parts of the north were worrying, adding, “against a background of debilitating poverty, atrocious living conditions and deteriorating physical infrastructures, it is depressing to hear about another clash between groups who have shared a common heritage of neglect, lack of development and poverty”.
“We are distressed that in spite of the reality of our common challenges, some persons are quick to resort to acts of destruction and despoliation to satisfy claims to ethnic hegemony.
It is an incontrovertible fact that these clashes, the resultant acts of destruction of livelihoods and the displacement of vulnerable rural communities, contribute to the damaging narrative of an inhospitable environment,” it added.
The forum, therefore, admonished the people to reflect on the material and collateral damages the incessant conflicts were inflicting on the people and unite for their common good.
“We wish to call on children of Northern Ghana to reflect on the immeasurable damage these flare-ups do to the image of the north and the ready ammunition given to our ‘unfriendly’ interests to use these unfortunate incidents to deny vast swathes of peaceful north physical infrastructure, social amenities and economic opportunities,” the statement said.
Renewed chieftaincy and land clashes that occurred between Lukula and Mempeasem communities last Thursday resulted in the death of at least seven persons and injury to many others.
The conflict involved rival chiefs in the Wasipe Traditional Area in the Savannah Region and the Soo Traditional Area in the North East Region.
The Lukula community is on the boundary of the two traditional areas.
In the process, some houses were also burnt down, leading to the displacement of residents, particularly women and children.
Some suspects are in the grip of the law in connection with the disturbances.
Chieftaincy and land conflicts have been recurring in the area over the past decades.
It is, however, not clear what might have sparked the latest violence.