A sporadic shooting incident at the Nkwanta Central Market in Nkwanta South Municipality of the Oti Region has left eight people dead.
According to eyewitnesses, armed assailants opened fire on residents early yesterday morning, killing several people and leaving many injured.
Several properties were also destroyed, forcing residents to flee for safety, leaving behind a ghost town.
The Oti Regional Minister, Joshua Gmayenaam Makubu, who confirmed the number of deaths to the media, said a police officer and five others suffered bullet wounds in the shootout and are in critical condition at the Nkwanta St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, where they have been admitted.
The region has witnessed tribal conflicts involving the Adele, Challa, and Akyode ethnic groups over land litigation issues.
However, in recent times, contention about a Yam Festival being organised by the Akyode people in the Nkwanta town had led to fresh skirmishes.
Despite attempts by the Oti Regional Security Council to resolve the issue, clashes have continued to plague the town.
According to Mr. Makubu, the Oti Regional Security Council has deployed personnel to investigate the trigger for this new attack.
He added that the REGSEC has also consulted chiefs and other opinion leaders in the area to urge residents put down their guns and restore peace.
In the meantime, police and military personnel have been deployed to maintain peace and ensure the safety of residents.
Meanwhile, the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, has on the advice of the Oti Regional Security Council and by Executive Instrument, imposed a curfew on the Nkwanta township.
The curfew hours start from 5pm to 6am effective Tuesday, November 21.
“The Minister for the Interior Ambrose Dery has, on the advice of the Oti Regional Security Council and by Executive Instrument, banned all persons in Nkwanta township and its environs in the Oti Region from carrying arms, ammunition or any offensive weapons,” a release from the Interior Ministry stated.
The minister said persons found with arms or ammunition would be arrested and prosecuted.
Source: Daily Guide