The death toll in ethnic clashes at Bawku in the north-eastern corner of Ghana has risen to five, Interior Minister Kwamena Bartel said on Monday.
However, eyewitnesses in the town, where fighting broke out between the Kusasis and Mamprusis on Sunday evening, put the death toll at six with several others injured. More than 30 people have been arrested for their role in the fighting.
Bartels said security had been beefed up with some 360 policemen and an undisclosed number of soldiers taking control of the town. Residents said the strong security presence backed by helicopters had led to calm being restored at sunset.
Bawku and its surrounding towns are under a 22-hour curfew from 0900-0700 GMT and Bartels said it would remain in force indefinitely.
Several houses and vehicles have been burnt in the clashes which started when a Kusasi opinion leader was shot on Sunday evening as he left Muslim prayers. He died while being rushed to the Upper East region hospital in Bolgatanga and his murder infuriated the Kusasis.
Residents spoke of heavy fighting throughout Monday until security reinforcements arrived. “The shooting has stopped,” said one resident on Monday. “There is heavy presence of security forces and there is calm now,” he added.
Bawku and its environs have been under curfew since late last year after an earlier clash between the two ethnic groups, but the curfew was relaxed to four hours from midnight only last Monday. Panapress .