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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 13:03 GMT
Ethnic clashes in northern Ghana
Police in Ghana say more than 50 people are now believed to have died in ethnic clashes in the north of the country.

The regional council in Bawku imposed a night curfew after violent disturbances over the weekend involving members of two tribes - the Kusasis and Mamprusis - and a dawn-to-dusk curfew is now in force.

President John Kufour of Ghana
Mr Kufuor has Mampusi supporters

Police say the situation is now under control.

Up to 150 people were wounded, buildings and cars were burnt and hundreds fled their homes in the clashes.

A police officer told AFP news agency that the death toll could be even higher as many of the local Muslims will bury their dead immediately, making it harder to verify casualty figures.

Fleeing clashes

Ghana's interior minister told parliament that the clashes began after an argument between two young people. One burnt the kiosk of the other and then there was retaliation.

The Associated Press reported that some Bawku residents fled to the regional capital of Bolgatanga, 85 kilometres (50 miles) away, to escape the fighting.

Former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings
Kusasi tend to back Mr Rawlings's party

There is a history of armed violence between the two tribes.

At least 30 people were killed in clashes between them last year.

The Mamprusi tend to favour President John Kufuor and his New Patriotic Party.

The Kusasi generally support the National Democratic Congress, the party of former President Jerry Rawlings.

There was violence during last year's elections.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
By the BBC's Kwaku Sakyi-Addo
"The immediate cause was the result of an argument between two young people"
See also:

02 Aug 01 | Africa
Timeline: Ghana
13 Aug 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Ghana
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