The Chereponi District Assembly in the North East Region has been shut down after a senior officer of the assembly was attacked and nearly killed in the ongoing protracted ethnic land violence between Konkombas and Anufors.
Alhaji Alhassan Fuseini, the District Coordinating Director on his way from the district capital on Monday evening, was attacked by angry suspected Konkombas at a village called Karinkuuka near Wapuli in the nearby Saboba district.
He was accompanying a small number of security forces transporting a victim of the violence to the Yendi hospital when the angry mob ambushed them at the village.
The attackers opened fire on the vehicle and grounded it before targeting the occupants.
The coordinating officer sustained gunshots wounds and had to be taken back to Chereponi for treatment after the outnumbered security men struggled to counter the attack.
The grounded official vehicle abandoned in the village was later burnt totally by the villagers.
Following the incident, two senior staff have confirmed that the assembly has “unofficially” been closed “till further notice”.
One officer who spoke from Yendi told Starr News, authorities asked them “to be on standby for further directives”.
According to him, most staff of the assembly have evacuated from Chereponi out of fear for their lives and some were already planning to permanently withdraw their services.
The officer explains the shutdown of the assembly means decentralisation or local economic development in the area, already noted for high poverty and deprivation, has collapsed.
“This is an area where it’s being difficult to get investors or donor support. No one wants to put his money where there is no peace and accountability”, the officer said.
“Yesterday, even myself and one other senior officer went to RING office for a discussion. They were (RING) looking at how to help the district to reintegrate the this thing…. And then, this thing has escalated again. So that’s the challenge.
The clashes between the two feuding tribal rivals renewed on Saturday afternoon after some Anufors allegedly set fire on a farmland belonging to Konkombas at a village known as Tumbu in Saboba.
The Konkombas who went to the scene were allegedly fired at by the supposed aggressors.
By Sunday morning, violence spilled into the volatile Chereponi district and spread overnight to several villages.
At least more than five people have officially been confirmed dead but locals are reporting huge casualty figures.
Violence is still raging in many far flung villages, according to residents.
On Wednesday morning, police announced that 16 persons were arrested in different locations and over a dozen weapons seized.
The Northern Regional Police spokesman, DSP Mohammed Yussif Tanko, confirmed the arrest said: “a total of sixteen suspects have so far been arrested to assist in investigations in the Konkomba and Chokosi conflict. One of the suspects who fired at security personnel was shot in the thigh and is receiving treatment at chereponi hospital under security guard.”
“Police and military team on the ground have prevented a lot of attacks and burning of communities”.