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General News Fri, 9 May 2003

Andanis And Abudus Quarrel In Court

A quarrel ensued between members of the Abudu and Andani families after proceedings at an Accra High Court trying two persons charged with the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, Paramount Chief of Dagbon. Two women from the two families engaged in a serious squabble in the courtroom soon after the day's sitting. Two men joined in and held each other while their supporters kept on shouting in Dagbani.

A court clerk, who could speak the language, intervened and managed to separate them. When journalists enquired from him, he said he did not know the cause of the misunderstanding.

Yidana Sugri and Iddrisu Gyanfo, both farmers, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder. They have pleaded not guilty but have been refused bail.

At the sitting, the Fourth Prosecution Witness, Nantoma Alhassan Andani, a National Service Personnel said he heard from town that one Ayoma went on air to appeal to the government to impose a curfew on the celebration of the Fire Festival.

Witness said after the news, the Ya-Na Yakubu received a letter from the Yendi District Chief Executive (DCE) inviting him to a meeting at the Yendi Police Station. He said the Ya-Na found the meeting to be unusual and, therefore, asked a subordinate to attend.

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The Subordinate returned to confirm that a curfew was going to be imposed in Yendi. Mr Andani said the Ya-Na then called the Regional Minister's office but was informed that the Minister had travelled to Accra. On the Minister’s return, he went to the Palace and held a meeting with the Andani's on the imposition of the curfew and the celebration of the Fire Festival.

The Regional Minister asked the Ya-Na to assure him that the youth in the Dagbon were going to celebrate the Fire Festival peacefully. Witness said the Regional Minister also held a similar meeting with the Abudu's, adding that he heard the people hooting at the Minister. The Minister left after the meeting.

Mr Andani said the following day there was an information van, which announced that there was going to be a curfew. While the Witness was with the Ya-Na, an Elder at the Gbewaa Palace, Mba Dugu came to report that the Abudus had attacked his son.

The Ya-Na asked that the matter should be reported to the Police while the victim was sent to the hospital. Witness said from the Gbewaa Palace, they heard sporadic shooting and some houses near the Palace were set ablaze and in the process one Mahama was shot.

Mr Andani said the following day there was intense fighting and many people fled. The Ya Na advised them to leave the palace, which they did.

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Mr Andani said at their hideout at the Yendi Prison quarters, he saw Gyanfo with one Mahama Acheampong, who was holding "something like a tail". He said Acheampong, who was also dancing was making comments, but he did not hear what he was saying.

Later, Witness said, Amadu, also a Prosecution Witness who was with him, shouted: "That was the king's hand that Yidana was holding," but I did not look at it.

Mr Andani stated that from his hideout, he saw two persons pull the body of Ya-Na outside the palace and that people around went to watch. He added that another person was holding a tyre and a gallon, saying he later saw smoke from the area.

Answering question in a cross-examination by Nana Obiri Boahene, counsel for the accused, Witness said he refused to seek refuge at the Police station because he had lost confidence in the Police and Military, because they failed to protect them at the Palace when the late Chief sent for them.

Source: .