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Thursday, 28 March, 2002, 17:53 GMT
Troops deployed in northern Ghana
Troops have been deployed in the main city in northern Ghana, Tamale, following an attack earlier this week on the residence of the king of the Dagombas, the biggest ethnic group in the region.

Soldiers are patrolling the streets and guarding key buildings, including government offices and banks.

Uncertainty surrounds the fate of King Ya-Na Yakubu Andani following the attack in the town of Yendi, about 100km east of Tamale.

In a BBC interview, the king's lawyer, Alaji Ibrahim Mahama, denied reports that he had been beheaded in the attack, but there has been no word from the king himself.

Intense rivalry

At least 25 people died after fighting between the Abudu and Andani clan in Yendi.

Yendi has been the scene of clashes in recent days between the Abudus and the Andanis, who share the leadership of the Dagombas.

The attackers are reported to be members of the Abudu clan.

The two tribes have a history of intense rivalry since Ghana gained independence from Britain in 1957.

The latest violence flared on Monday when two people were shot and wounded after an argument over who should perform certain rituals associated with Yendi's traditional fire festival, known as the Bugum.

It is regarded as one of Ghana's most picturesque festivals, involving a night-time display of drumming and dancing under the light of blazing torches.

The Dagombas make up about 8% of Ghana's population. Their king is the country's second-highest traditional ruler after the king of the Ashanti.

See also:

07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Ghana
22 Feb 02 | Africa
Timeline: Ghana
04 Dec 01 | Africa
Ethnic clashes in northern Ghana
27 Apr 99 | Africa
Ashanti King takes the throne
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