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Kidnapping Scare Hits Yendi
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Tension has enveloped the entire Dagbon State as the Damba festival gets underway. This is due to rumours making the rounds that 200 troops of the erstwhile dreaded 64 Battalion are storming Yendi.

The area, which is the traditional capital of the ancient state, has for the past few days been thrown into a state of fear and anxiety over planned kidnappings. Rumours are rife that the battalion will be seizing traditional drums, some chieftaincy and traditional instruments and regalia as well as arresting some prominent individuals.

A highly-placed security source revealed that the invasion by well-trained armed men has some political undertones, and Mbadugo, a well-known individual, is likely to be kidnapped.

The supposed presence of the armed men has left many wondering why some politicians are bent on creating confusion in the region. Text messages about the diabolical plan have already started flying around the region, cautioning people to be on the look-out.

A copy of the messages intercepted by Daily Guide read; “there are 200 64 battalion troops storming Yendi. Persons would be arrested, beaten and drums seized. Mbadugo will be kidnapped. This message is very important. Please don’t joke with it at all” {sic}.

Several residents, on receiving the information, are fleeing Yendi for fear that there might be reprisal attacks if indeed the planned actions of the deployed unofficial security officers are carried out. On Tuesday the Northern Regional Police Commander, ACP Awuni, announced that he had stepped up security in the area.

Confusion over who has the right to celebrate in Yendi, the Traditional home of Dagbon, has always characterized the Damba festival celebrations and has led to loss of lives and property in the past.

Despite these occurrences, the past New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, as a way to maintain peace during this period, stepped up security and allowed both factions to celebrate under heavy police and military presence.

Several measures are always instituted in this regard, but this time around, the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC), chaired by Moses Bukari Mabengba, barred residents from performing funerals within the Yendi Municipality and its environs until activities related to the impending Damba festival are dully completed.

Mr. Mabengba also disclosed that for security reasons, this year’s Damba Festival in Yendi should be celebrated at the Gbewaa Palace only.

The Abudu royal family rejected his directive, claiming that they are not going to respect his decree and will go ahead to celebrate the festival. REGSEC has however cautioned that under no circumstance should any group of persons, chiefs or opinion leaders celebrate the event in Yendi outside the Gbewaa Palace.

It appealed to all sub chiefs, elders and the general public, most especially in and around the Yendi Municipality, to take note and cooperate with the security agents to ensure that law and order is maintained. The Northern Regional Security Council further stated categorically that the directives are to ensure peace and security in the region, especially during this Damba period.

Although ACP Awuni would not comment on the alleged presence of the 64 Battalion troops, he has declared that any unprofessional security problems will be nipped in the bud.

The police chief has held a series of meetings with various groups and individuals, but fears are that the purported deployed men might jeopardize the respect residents accord him.
Source: Stephen Zoure, Tamale

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