Border communities urged to be vigilant against terrorism

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terrorism

The National Peace Council (NPC) has urged communities along Ghana’s borders to be vigilant and support the security services to prevent violent extremism and terrorism.

Mr Ali Anankpieng, the Upper East Regional Executive Secretary, NPC, said the instability in neighbouring countries and the activities of terrorists there put the country at risk, considering the porous nature of the borders.

He made the call at Bongo in the Upper East Region, at a two-day training session on Preventing Violent Extremism in Ghana, organised by the Council for border communities in the Bongo District.

The capacity building workshop, with funding from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), sought to build the resilience of community members to identify early warning signals of extremists and collaborate with the security agencies to address them.
It brought together traditional and religious leaders, youth and women groups, and persons with disability, among others.

Mr Anankpieng said the Sub-Saharan region currently had active extremist groups with countries including, Ivory Coast, Togo, Burkina Faso and Niger having experienced terrorist attacks.
He said Ghana was not immune to such attacks and needed to be worried about happenings in the Sahel because of the southward movement of activities of terrorist groups, adding: “They started from Niger, Mali and they are in Burkina Faso and Ghana is just the next door.”

“So, Ghana cannot afford to sit aloof, thinking that because we have not had any major attack, we are immune to attacks”.

Ensuring security in the country required a collective approach, he said, and called for the sensitisation of communities to understand and appreciate emerging issues of terrorism and extremism, to safeguard themselves against any influence.

“Experts will tell you that these extremists are trying to gain territorial expansion to the extent that Coastal West Africa is one of their targets and Ghana is one of them and so we need to prepare.”

Mr Anankpieng advised the participants, particularly the youth, to resist attempts at recruiting them to cause mayhem in the country and appealed to the government and stakeholders to address challenges facing the youth, particularly the unemployment.

He said the roadmap to ending vigilantism was to identify unemployment as a driving factor of instability among the youth and called for a strategic approach to providing economic empowerment for them.

Mr Elvis Nyaaba, the Assemblyman for Feo Electoral Area, who participated in the training, said the youth usually travelled to neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso and Mali in search of jobs and when pragmatic measures were not taken to grow the local economy to provide them with decent jobs, they could be lured by the terrorists to become a threat to the peace and stability of the country.

Naba Azaare Anyenaba, the Chief of Feo, said the security services operating in border communities must partner the residents to support them in fighting crime.

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