Security personnel at the Agbogbloshie chaos scene
A Konkonba/Dagomba clash at the congested Agbogbloshie Market in Accra has left two persons reportedly dead, one of them a pregnant woman.
It is thought that one of the victims was slaughtered in the melee which engulfed the market yesterday afternoon.
An earlier report had it that four persons died in the mayhem until the police report put out the confirmed figure.
The market doubles as a makeshift residence for hundreds of persons, some of them alleged possessors of dangerous weapons.
The police added that eight victims were on admission at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, for various degrees of injury suffered in the free-for-all infliction of cutlass cuts and firing of firearms.
The security alert triggered by the mayhem saw a swift deployment of troops from the army and the police to the crime scene, notorious for such bloody clashes.
Previous bloody clashes in 2009 left four activists of the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) slaughtered in broad daylight in front of the Agbogbloshie police station with no arrests made to date because of political reasons.
So intense was yesterday’s fighting between members of the two ethnic groups that hawkers and traders in the general area of the sprawling market took to their heels so they were not caught in the crossfire.
Various accounts have emanated from the trouble spot, one of them saying a Konkonba youth was beaten by his Dagomba colleagues for allegedly stealing a mobile phone – news about which infuriated his tribesmen who reportedly mobilized and retaliated.
Another version said the object stolen was an LPG cylinder.
The police have, however, dispelled speculations that it was political, while pointing out that it was communal.
The market/slum melee was close to a similar encounter when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost power but that was limited to an intra-ethnic duel.
Members of the NPP found in their party’s electoral win an opportunity to revenge for the cold blooded murder of their colleagues in front of the Agbogbloshie Police Station in 2009.
The police personnel virtually folded their arms as the armed youth from the NDC attacked and murdered in cold blood their NPP counterparts, the two coming from the Dagomba ethnic grouping.
The indifference of the police at the time made scathing headlines about the law enforcement agency, many amazed at the scale of impunity.
It was an impunity which saw the suspects in the murder who were later identified by their colleagues, go Scot free.
Their case joined a litany of others on the supposed orders of the political establishment.
The Greater Accra Regional Police Commander at the time was ACP Rose Atenga Bio, who alongside her bosses, were not inclined to have the case pursued.
The aggrieved NPP boys spoiling for revenge, sought to strike on the day of the inauguration of President Akufo-Addo, claiming that it was time to avenge for the murder of their colleagues.
It took the intervention of Dagomba NPP elders to have them rescind their decision or at least postpone it for another opportune time.
Unless the case of the murdered young men is revisited and due judicial process opened for all to see, peace could be far away.
Any misunderstanding can only trigger the remote factor of the murder of the NPP boys.
The slum is a subject successive governments have failed to address.
It is a time bomb providing fodder for bad politicians to exploit but waiting to explode one day.
By A.R. Gomda