Conflict Nkonyas & Alavanyos Clash - Strategy, attitude and security

The historical antecedent of these groups and their subsequent ethnic clash span as far back as the 18th century sometime in 1840 where the Nkonyas welcomed and provided lands to the Alavanyos who had migrated from Saviefe through Akrofu to Sovie (near Kpando).

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The renewed clash between the Nkonyas and Alavanyos which left  2 dead yesterday hours after a renewal period of the curfew placed in their community raises fundamental questions of strategy, attitude and more importantly security.

The historical antecedent of these groups and their subsequent ethnic clash span as far back as the 18th century sometime in 1840 where the Nkonyas welcomed and provided lands to the Alavanyos who had migrated from Saviefe through Akrofu to Sovie (near Kpando).

However, in 1913, there was a demarcation of lands for the Nkonyas and five other ethnic groups of which the Alavanyos were part.  In May 1923, elders from  Nykonya went to Alavanyo to address an issue of encroachment by some Alavanyo farmers.

This, unfortunately, led to the subsequent beating of the Nkonyas who went there to address the issue.

In 1953 this incident provoked the Nkonyas to file a lawsuit to evict the encroachers of which in May 1957 ( months after independence ) the court ruled in favour of the Nkonyas.

Various appeals and redressing of this subject matter upheld the ruling in favour of the Nkonyas. 

Thereof after, there has been series of conflicts between them - 1923, 1983, 2003, 2004 and 2012 and 2013.

Clearly, the triggers of these protracted conflicts have also encapsulated general threats from each group, perception of inferiority complex and quest for power.

A careful look at the timelines suggests that the 19th  century saw a less frequent number of reprisals or renewals compared to the year beginning 2003.

Could this be as a result of a more appropriate & proactive strategy between 1923 and 1983? Or was it a case of adequate security?

The frequency in the millennium ( 2000’s)  can be attributed to social dynamics, access to illegal acquisition of weapons,  growing intolerance & lawlessness, a weak monitoring system,  and a generation not reconscientize by way of education of the dire implication of such conflicts vis-a-vis personal development, social cohesion, livelihood, community development and nation building.

The time period of Wednesday’s incident was unmistakeably a premeditated act, waiting for an opportunity to strike and couldn't  have been an accident. It, therefore, suggest that we need to go beyond police presence as a way of mitigating such ethnic reprisals.

If we are going to make any headway in managing ethnic conflict zones and hot spots, we may have to first continue to maintain the integrity of the police to galvanize public support,  encourage whistleblowing with tangible rewards , deepen community policing beyond manning such areas to pick intelligence on a daily basis, set periodic date for disarmament (amnesty), let the law work, revise strategy when necessary, and maintain a proactive security culture all year round.

Nana Owusu-Sekyere

Security Analyst

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