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Regional News of Thursday, 30 April 2020

Source: Ananpansah B Abraham, Contributor

Bodies of Salugu riot victims released to families after two years

File photo: The two bodies were deposited at the mortuary on January 14, 2018 File photo: The two bodies were deposited at the mortuary on January 14, 2018

The West Gonja Catholic Hospital in the West Gonja Municipal Assembly of the Savannah Region has finally released bodies of victims in the Salugu conflict to family members for burial.

A total accrued mortuary bill of GHC58,280.00 (GHC29,140 per body) was waived by the hospital paving way for relatives to have access to the bodies.

The bodies were officially released to the families on April 27, 2020, in the full witness of the police.

Officials from the Savannah Regional Coordinating Council were also supposed to witness the handing over of the bodies, but couldn't turn up.

The deceased identified as John Bakari, 45, and 91-year old woman, Kala Adima were killed two years ago in a conflict between Gonjas' and Tampulmas' at Salugu in the Banawa Electoral Area in the North Gonja District of the Savannah Region.

Some 35 houses were also identified to be burnt in the process rendering many residents homeless.

The two bodies were deposited at the mortuary on 14th January 2018, by police officers under the Regional Police Command of the Northern Region.

Issues of mortuary bills and uncompleted forensic investigation into the conflict were identified as possible reasons for the delay in burying the bodies.

The Normalisation Committee in consultation with the boards and CEO of the hospital agreed to waive the bills on humanitarian grounds after it became difficult for the accrued bills to be cleared.

At a short ceremony to hand over the bodies, the Chairman of the Normalisation Committee who is the acting Administrator of the hospital, Rev. Fr.Lazarus Annyereh, expressed commiserations to the families on behalf of the entire management and staff of the hospital.

He said the hospital as a corporate body has decided to waive the mortuary bills on humanitarian grounds since it would have been difficult for family members to clear the bills.

Servicing of the fridges among others are costs the hospital still has to bear, he noted.

According to him, it would be an additional burden on the already bereaved families to demand that they pay the mortuary bills among others.

He prayed for a peaceful reposed of the souls stating that, "as you go to bury these bodies, let's not bring about any barbaric act. But that peace would prevail. The more we pray for them, the better their souls rest in peace".

The former Assembly Man for Banawa Electoral Area, Mr Abudu Zakaria, who spoke on behalf of the families expressed appreciation to the hospital for the kind gesture.

He wondered how they would have paid the accrued mortuary bills.

The conflict he noted, has no better prize for humanity except agony, admonishing the factions to keep the peace in the area. Assuming entrenched positions in his view, is not the way to go.

Also present were other members of the Normalisation Committee of the hospital, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital; Dr Vitalis Saadaare, current Assemblyman for Banawa Electoral Area; Mr.Salifu among other family members of the deceased and representative of the Regional Police Commander; Mr.SS Gbeve.