A military detachment has been dispatched to Nkwanta following a recent outbreak of violence resulting in gunshots and property destruction during clashes between key ethnic groups.
Mr. Bright Lenwah, Chairman of the Nkwanta Municipal Security Council, confirmed the military intervention and highlighted the need for peace restoration and dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.
According to Mr Lenwah, the clashes are believed to have arisen from a family feud, and he stressed the importance of resolving the issue through peaceful means. He revealed that approximately ten individuals required hospitalization due to the confrontations.
Mr. Lenwah made an earnest appeal to all factions involved to refrain from engaging with the military, emphasizing that the military's primary role is peacekeeping.
The conflict's origins can be traced back to fresh fighting between the Adele, Challa, and Akyode tribes. This violence has led to the displacement of thousands of residents in Nkwanta, who have sought refuge in neighbouring districts and municipalities within the Oti Region.
The clashes among these ethnic groups were triggered by disputes related to the performance of ritual rites associated with the 2023 annual Yam Festival celebrated by the Akyode group. The resulting confrontations resulted in the destruction and burning of numerous homes and shops, rendering Nkwanta a deserted town.
Attempts to obtain a comment from the Nkwanta South Municipal Police Commander, Superintendent Lartey Lawson, regarding the situation were unsuccessful.
On Saturday, the Adeles and Challas ethnic groups jointly held a press conference opposing the celebration of the Kyodjible Yam Festival by the Akyode tribe, citing it as a source of disturbance. The issue of town ownership has been a contentious one among these three tribes for several decades, with no resolution in sight.
The military presence seeks to bring an end to the violence and provide an opportunity for peaceful negotiations to address the underlying issues causing tensions between the ethnic groups.