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Great Lakes
Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK
Curfew for Ghanaian town
By Iliasu Adam
BBC correspondent in Tamale

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed on the Dagbon traditional area of Tamale in northern Ghana.

Four people have died there during two days of pitched battles between government and opposition supporters.

Boys hold torches in traditional fire festival
Tension has been high since the kiling of the Dagbon king
Several houses belonging to supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) were vandalised and party billboards and flags were also destroyed.

A number of motorbikes and bicycles were burned. Several people including a soldier were wounded.

More than 100 people have been arrested by joint operations between the military and police which are continuing.

There has been simmering tension in the region since the killing of the Dagbon king last year.

The disturbances appear to have flared up again this week following the lifting and then re-imposition of the state of emergency which began after the king's death.

On Thursday, armed soldiers cordoned off the Tamale abattoir as members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), who had taken part took part in the violence, gathered to take their meat to market.

Some were arrested, beaten up and made to remove their shirts. They were forced to lie on their backs and face the sun with eyes open in temperatures of about 35C.

Semblance of calm

The security forces, with reinforcements from other parts of the country, have now been able to bring the situation under control.

Some semblance of calm has slowly returned to the municipality with armed soldiers and police patrolling the town. The banks and some shops have re-opened.

The northern regional security committee met the leadership of all political parties in Tamale on Wednesday to try to find a solution to the disturbances.

They all condemned the violence and political leaders went to the two local radio stations in Tamale to appeal for calm.

The northern regional minister, Ernest Debrah, described the incident as embarrassing and made an appeal to residents not to allow their political differences to divide them further.

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