By Anthony Adongo Apubeo
Kandiga (U/E), Feb 27, GNA – After almost four years of violent land disputes leading to the loss of several lives and properties, the chiefs and people of Doba and Kandiga communities in the Upper East Region have finally embraced peace.
A blood cleansing exercise according to the customs and traditions of the two communities and a non-denominational church service were held to publicly put an end to the conflict and to chart a new path for peaceful coexistence.
Also, a ceremonial handing over of arms (sticks) was done while the chiefs and people of the two communities drank water and ate together amid dancing to depict their resolve to the peace agreement.
The ceremonies, which attracted various stakeholders and thousands of people from the two communities, were to also pave way for the mediating team to amicably resolve the differences in the ownership of the land.
Mr Clement Anontara Asakiya, Spokesperson for Naaba Ajebsira Abaane Atingoa II, Chief of Doba, who spoke on behalf of the community, noted that the two communities had sinned before God and mankind for the past four years that they had engaged in the conflict and asked for forgiveness.
He said the two communities had always been related through ancestries and marriage, among others, but it was a mistake that generated into the violent conflict and added that they were committed to sustaining the peace that had been reestablished.
“We are committed to this peace agreement with all of our hearts and the evil that had bedeviled us in the past few years has been exposed and we believe that God will heal this land and bring prosperity to the two communities,” he said.
Mr Gilbert Atanga, Secretary for Naaba Henry Abawine Amenga-Etego II, Chief of Kandiga, who also spoke on behalf of the community, said it was disheartening how the two related communities allowed themselves to be consumed by violence, which retarded development and posed hardship on women and children.
“I am very happy that we have been able to achieve this success and I would want to thank all the stakeholders who played critical roles in the process and also urged the two communities to work to sustain this peace for development to thrive,” he said.
In April 2019, violent land dispute erupted between the chiefs and people of Doba and Kandiga when two projects namely a Police post and a Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound were to be constructed on a piece of land at Akonkongo-Abempengo Electoral Area.
The conflict then led to gunshots from the two factions who claimed ownership of the land leading to loss of lives, and properties such as houses and farmlands through burning where a lot of people were displaced.
The peace process was through efforts of various stakeholders led by Naba Atogumdeya Roland Akwara II, Paramount Chief of Sirigu Traditional Area and its ancestral family and supported by the Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Poetry and Arts (SWOPA), Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan Development Organisation through the Sahel Peace Initiative sponsored by the Catholic Relief Service and the National Peace Council, among others.
The Paramount Chief of Sirigu lauded the two communities for laying down their tools for peace to prevail and urged the communities to work to preserve the agreement to accelerate development.
Naba Akwara said poverty was one of the causes of conflict and urged government to address the structural causes of poverty as part of efforts of building and sustaining the peace.
Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, Catholic Bishop of the Navrongo Bolgatanga Diocese, who blessed the land, said the church would continue to pray for continued peace to reign and advised the youth to desist from activities that would mar the peace achieved.