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General News Mon, 9 Sep 2002

UN Team Visits Dagbon

THE United Nations has pledged its preparedness to help the government to find lasting peace in the Dagbon area.

The world organisation has, however, noted that any effort at achieving this objective must involve the chiefs and people of the area.

A Consultant at the UN, Dr Elsadiq Abunaceesah, who led a three-man fact-finding team from the UN Headquarters in New York to the Dagbon area, was speaking during a meeting with the regent of Tamale, Alhaji Ziblim Abdulai, in Tamale yesterday.

The other members of the delegation were a UN expert on small arms, Napoleon Abdulai and Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Annan, a political scientist.

The meeting witnessed a large gathering of people in recent times in the Tamale municipality. During the deliberations, some of the people, who could not control their emotions, shed tears.

Dr Abunaceesah said since the two gates, Andani and Abudu, are from the same family, it is only proper that the leadership from both sides team up with government to resolve the problem.

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He said there is also the need to include religious and traditional leaders in the peace-building effort.

He observed that even though the Northern Region is endowed with resources, the people are poor, adding that an immediate and acceptable solution should be found to the crisis to ensure accelerated development of the area. He said ?the solution of this problem could result in peace and prosperity in the area.?

Dr Abunaceesah, who is a Muslim, quoted portions of the Holy Quoran to support his call for peace and tranquillity. He stated that as much as the Quoran speaks of justice, it also calls for forgiveness at all times.

The regent, on his part, appealed for justice to prevail in the matter, stressing that people should not be made to profit from their bad deeds.

He made it clear that the only way peace can return to Dagbon is for the government to allow the Andanis to give the Ya-Na a fitting burial, reconstruct the Gbewaa Palace and also perform the Ya-Na?s funeral.

He added that since the Ya-Na did not die a natural death, somebody from the Andani Gate be enskinned as the Ya-Na to continue from where the late Ya-Na left off.

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Touching on the Wuaku Commission, Alhaji Abdulai explained that the Andanis did not boycott the commission?s sittings but only sent a protest letter, expressing their misgivings to the President for redress ?but up till now, there has not been any response from the Presidency.? He said at the moment, about 25 people from the Andani Gate are yet to give their testimonies to the commission, saying ?as an aggrieved family, we need to be treated humanely.?

The regent expressed the Andani family?s confidence in the President and pledged their support in helping the government find a permanent solution to the crisis. ?So far as the government is committed to unearthing the truth about the Ya-Na?s murder, we will also support it? Alhaji Abdulai stated.

He went on to narrate events leading to the murder of the King and many others in March this year. Earlier, the UN team visited the Gbewaa Palace at Yendi after they interacted with the leadership of both the Andani and Abudu Gates at Yendi. They also conferred with the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) in Tamale.

At Yendi where they met both sides, they stressed the need for them as one family to come together and find an immediate solution to the problem.

Dr Abunaceesah said it is only when this is done that the international community and the government can complement their efforts at building peace in the area.

Menwhile, in Tamale Zakaria Alhassan reports that the Andani Family has appealed to the government to facilitate the release of the 14 people who were arrested for allegedly embarking on a demonstration during the visit of the UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan to Tamale recently.

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The Regent of Tamale, Alhaji Ziblim Abdulai who made the appeal in Tamale said the arrest of the alleged demonstrators has generated a lot of tension in the municipality since their action was not meant to embarrass the UN Secretary General but to register their protest at the handling of the Yendi crisis by the government.

The 14 people who are currently on bail are to re-appear before the Circuit Court in Tamale on Wednesday, September 11.

The regent was speaking during a meeting with a United Nations fact finding team to his palace. The team is led by Dr Elsadiq Abunaceesah from the UN Headquarters in New York.

According to the regent, the youth decided to embark on the demonstration to send their message to the UN Secretary General to help to find a permanent solution to the Yendi crisis.

He explained that when he and other chiefs from the Andani family wanted to confer with Mr Annan, they were denied the opportunity but only allowed to exchange greetings with Mr Annan at the Northern Regional Coordinating Council.

Alhaji Abdulai said that although he was not made aware of the intention of the youth to embark on the demonstration, he did not see anything wrong with their action of forming a picket line with placards to send their message across to the UN Secretary General. The regent also appealed for the lifting of the State of Emergency and for that matter the curfew that is currently prevailing in the Dagbon area.

He said the situation at the moment is seriously affecting the socio-economic life in Dagbon and suggested that ?if anything at all, the state of emergency and the curfew should only be restricted to Yendi since that was where the incident occurred.?

Dr Abunaceesah appealed to both the Andanis and Abudus to exercise maximum restraint in the face of the current efforts at achieving peace.

Source: Graphic