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General News
Ghana king burial draws thousands 1/29/2007
By Will Ross
BBC News, Accra



Crowds wore the traditional red and black of mourning
A royal funeral in Ghana''s capital, Accra, has drawn tens of thousands of people and brought business in the city to a standstill.
The king, or paramount chief, of the Ga population, Nii Amugi II, died 18 months ago but was finally being buried on Saturday.

The funeral was delayed partly because of ongoing disputes over who should succeed him.

The Ga are one of the main ethnic groups in the south of the country.

Celebration of life

Nii Amugi II was given a musical send-off as tens of thousands of people, wearing the traditional red and black of mourning, thronged his palace.

Ghana is a country where democracy is seen to be working but the people have certainly not lost their sense of tradition.

Almost everything in Accra was put on hold for the funeral. Internet cafes, bars, supermarkets and all other business shut down.

Kings and chiefs across the country still have a huge following and power, which means the country''s political leaders have to tread very carefully.

Diplomats from around the world attended the funeral and were at times startled by the sudden firing of old smoking muskets.

It may have taken 18 months for the late king to be buried but that is no record.

Last year the traditional ruler of Ghana''s northern Dagomba kingdom was buried four years after he was murdered.

Disputes over who should succeed him were long and violent and still have not been finally resolved.

Funerals in Ghana are anything but sombre and are more of a celebration of life.

The huge crowds that have been paying their last respects to the Nii Amugi II are likely to keep the festivities going well into the night.


 
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