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General News Mon, 21 Jul 2008

Police avert clash between the youth of New Tafo and Osiem

Osiem(ER), July 21, GNA - A swift intervention by Akim Tafo District Police Command to prevent an attack on New Tafohene, Nana Adusei Peasah by an angry youth of Osiem who were preventing New Tafohene's vehicle from passing through Osiem on Sunday morning averted a bloody communal violence.

On hearing rumours of an alleged attack on their chief, the youth of New Tafo started mobilizing to stage a counter attack on Osiem when New Tafohene arrived and pleaded with them to stop. Nana Peasah who is currently Acting Adotenhene of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area went to Osiem to settle an issue between chiefs and people of Osiem and members of Saviour Church of Ghana over the burial of a member, Moses Yaw Danso 45, during the celebration of Ohum festival.

The festival is celebrated by chiefs and people of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area between June and July every year and by tradition, nobody was expected to make noise, organise funerals and burials during the period that lasts for two weeks.

Later, the youth of Osiem clashed with youth of the church who were leading the vehicle carrying the corpse to the cemetery in a stone throwing "war".

A contingent of policemen and officers on standby had to moved in to save the situation and restore peace. However, some people including one Ejah Osei, member of the church and Mr Gabriel Kwadwo Ofosuhene, a relative of Osiem Assemblyman received head injuries from the stones.

Nana Peasah who by tradition is the overlord of Osiem told newsmen that he was informed by Osiemhene, Barimah Kweku Poku III on Saturday morning that members of the church were organising a funeral and burial of a member on Ohum Sunday against tradition and youth of Osiem had planned to disrupt the funeral and burial that could cause trouble and requested for his intervention to ensure peace. He said he had then scheduled an important traditional meeting and therefore, called Akim Tafo Police to intervene and investigate the issue to ensure peace.

Nana Peasah said after the meeting, he invited Osiemhene and elders of the church to discuss the issue to avoid any confrontation. He said Osiemhene attended the meeting but elders of the church failed to attend and Osiemhene was asked to go home. Nana Peasah said on Sunday morning, Osiemhene inform him that members of the church were going on with the funeral celebration therefore, he (Nana Peasah) should inform the police.

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He said after communicating with Osiemhene on the phone, he was informed that elders of the church had arrived to see him and granted them an audience.

Nana Peasah explained that after listening to elders of the church, he realized that they had been misled by Gyasehene of Osiem, Opanyin Sam Menu who is also the family head of the deceased.

He said he drove to Osiem and explained the issue to Osiemhene and his elders and suggested that to ensure peace, the deceased's family should provide rams for the necessary purifications to enable them bury the deceased peacefully without making noise or weeping. Nana Peasah said Abusuapanyin of Osiem, Opanyin Kojo Mooshi, said elders of Osiem would not accept two rams but four from the family for the purification.

He said after the decision, elders of Osiem were reluctant to inform members of the church about the decision therefore, he volunteered to inform the church and return to Tafo. Nana Peasah said after meeting elders of the church and on his way back to inform Osiemhene and his elders about what had transpired, he realized that the main road through Osiem had been blocked by the youth. He said when he reached the blockade he got down to talk to the youth to give way but they were reluctant and rather started using cement blocks to prevent his vehicle from moving.

Nana Peasah said it was around that time the police arrived to force the youth to open the road for him to return to Tafo and expressed concern about the indiscipline among the youth. Osiemhene, Barimah Poku explained that the youth and elders of Osiem refused to accept the rams and performance of the rituals to allow the burial because they considered it as an affront to the culture and tradition of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area.

He explained that such rituals were allowed if the deceased died of a contiguous disease and a medical officer's report that the corpse had to be buried immediately during an Ohum festival.

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Mr Enock Ofori, Secretary of Saviour Church of Ghana, denied that the church intentionally planned to show disrespect to traditions of the people of Akyem Abuakwa. He said the deceased was an active member therefore, upon his demise the church invited the family to plan with them about how to organize a befitting burial for him. Mr Ofori said Gyasehene of Osiem Opanyin Menu was also the head of family of the deceased, therefore, they relied on him to guide them in the planning to prevent it from coinciding with the festival. He said when they met it was upon Opanyin Menu's advice that July 13 was fixed for the funeral and communicated to branches of the church country-wide.

Mr Ofori said three days later, Opanyin Menu informed the church that he made a mistake in fixing the date, because July 13 would be an Ohum day and compelled the church to reschedule the funeral date to July 20 this year.

He said it was on Thursday, July 17 when some of the mourners had arrived that Opanyin Menu came to inform them that although he made a mistake with the date within the Ohum festival, the church could proceed with the funeral.

Mr Ofori informed the family that the church would provide the rams to the traditional authorities for the necessary purification to enable them bury the deceased but Opanyin Menu told the church that he would be travelling and would not be in town.

He said initially, Osiemhene refused to allow the church to bury the deceased but after series of meetings, Nana Peasah to inform him (Ofori) on Sunday morning that elders of Osiem had agreed that the family provided rams for some rituals to enable them bury the deceased. Mr Ofori said it was after the family had sent the rams to the palace, it was realised that the doors had been closed. He said during the burial, the youth of the church tried to escort the corpse to the cemetery but were resisted with stones thrown by the youth of Osiem so they returned to the church yard. Mr Ofori said due to the incident, the church took the corpse outside Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area for burial.

Source: GNA