The leaders of the two feuding families in the Bunkpuguru chieftaincy dispute (Jamong and Jafouk families) have blamed the frequent bloodshed and wanton destruction of properties in the area on the Judicial Committee of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs for being “lackadaisical” in adjudicating the protracted dispute.
According to the Jamong and the Jafouk families, the chieftaincy dispute had been pending before the House for over nine years now, resulting in the killing and burning of innocent people and destruction of several houses and other properties.
Over 15 people are said to have been killed so far in Bunkpurugu in connection with the dispute.
The two families made the accusation when the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. John Kudalor, and other members of National Security visited the Bunkurugu-Yunyoo District to assess the security situation in the area recently, after the killing and burning of three persons and properties.
After the IGP’s visit, two persons are reported to have also been killed and 48 houses burnt, even though the area is under curfew – from 6:00p.m. to 6:00a.m.
The leaders of the two families appealed to the IGP and President John Dramani Mahama to personally intervene to get the matter adjudicated.
They were very explicit that their followers would find peace and be free from the willful attacks if the matter was brought to a satisfactory end.
They promised to accept the outcome of the case, and would, thus, pay homage to whoever became the rightful or legitimate leader of the people of the Bunkpurugu traditional area, if the verdict was pronounced. Meanwhile, several women and children in the heat of the recent bloodbath fled the Bunkpurugu town to different locations to seek refuge.
The Jamong royal family is currently contesting the legitimacy of the enskinment of the current Paramount Chief of Bimoba (Bunkpurugu) Traditional Area, Nasimong Abuba of the Jafouk family, who was installed by the Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area, Nayiri Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga.
The Jamongs claimed that it was their turn to ascend the Bimoba skin, which is inherited on a rotational basis, but the Overlord of the Mamprugu Kingdom, they said, unjustifiably overturned the system and enskinned Alhaji Nasimong Abuba as the Paramount Chief of Bimoba Traditional Area.
The Jamong family, who claimed to be the first settlers and real royals of the land, said that the decision of the Nayiri to enskin Alhaji Abuba was highly illegitimate and against the traditional system of the people of Bimoba.
They (the Jamongs) are said to have, since 2007, refused to recognise the current Chief as their leader, and have always refused to obey his orders, a situation which has not only angered the Jafouk family, but has also given birth to the frequent firing of guns, killing of people, attacks and counter attacks, as well as burning of houses.
Both the Jafouk and the Jamong families, who are from one lineage, have, since, been at each other’s throats due to the misunderstanding over who should ascend the Bimoba skin.
However, the Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor, reminded the people that there could only be meaningful development in an atmosphere of peace, and charged the opinion leaders to show interest and champion the cause in ensuring lasting peace in Bunkpurugu.
The IGP’s visit follows the burning of 35 houses and the loss of three lives in a renewed ethnic chieftaincy dispute between the Jamong and the Jafouk families in the area. “We, as policemen and soldiers, can come here with all our armaments to restore peace and order, but everlasting peace, tranquility and coexistence must come from the inhabitants,” the IGP told both feuding factions at separate locations in Bunkpurugu.
The Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Major General Richard Kwame Opoku Adusei, made a passionate appeal to the people to embrace peace as the country prepares for the general elections.
In an interview with The Chronicle, the Registrar of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, Mr. Ismail Alimo, confirmed that the matter has been pending before the Judicial Committee of the House for the past nine years.
He explained that the delay was mainly due to the fact that at the time the case was filed, the House did not have a well constituted Council in place for a number of years, until last year.
He said that since last year when the hearing commenced, there had been several adjournments due to how both parties had been filing interlocutory injunctions.
Mr. Alimo further said that some seven families from Bunkpurugu also filed a petition to join the case, claiming that they were also eligible to contest the Bimoba skin, but six of the petitioners were dismissed by the Judicial Committee.
“We fixed 4th and 5th February 2016 for hearing, but the lawyers for both parties said that they were indisposed to appear in court. We, again, set 23rd and 24th February 2016, but again, some of the panel members have to attend National House of Chiefs general meeting. So the court will now meet with the lawyers to fix a possible date for hearing again.”