Stakeholders from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo have met to brainstorm on strategic measures to help fight against cattle rustling and insecurity along their borders.
The engagement held at Bolgatanga on the theme: “Challenges of Cross Border Transhuman”, was organised by the Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers (GNACF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and sponsored by the European Union through Promeditators based in Burkina Faso.
It brought together stakeholders such as traditional leaders, security agencies, Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers, Cattle Dealers Association, Farmer Groups, among others from the three neighbouring countries.
In the early part of 2023, some communities in Bongo-Soe, Sherigu, Naaga and Nabdam in the Upper East Region protested for expulsion of persons of the Fulbe extraction as a result of cattle rustling that took place in their communities.
The situation created tension among the factions and brought about some insecurity issues.
The participants attributed the recent upsurge of cattle rustling and insecurity among the border countries to violent extremism and alleged the perpetrators of violent extremism rustled cattle from farmers and cattle dealers to sell and fund their heinous crimes.
Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, stated that if proactive measures were not taken to deal with the problem it would mar bilateral relationships among member states.
He mentioned lack of effective collaboration among the ECOWAS Member states to deal with the problem as one of the major issues and stated that plans were far advanced by the Upper East Regional Security Council to engage political heads of Burkina Faso and Togo to see how these three border countries could address these challenges.
The Regional Minister noted that cattle trade and other related trade among the ECOWAS countries have dropped as result of closing of borders of ECOWAS countries as part of measures to prevent violent extremism.
Imam Hanafi Sonde, the National Chairman of GNACF, observed that there were no effective mechanisms put in place to address the menace and called on need for Municipal and District Assemblies to constitute Committees composing of Security agencies, Cattle Farmers, Cattle Dealers, Farmer Groups to help deal with the problem.
He stressed that after the formation of the committees, modalities concerning their operations and the sanctions that come with the violation of the modalities of their operation should be made known to the stakeholders and indicated that once that was done it would be easy to identify herdsmen who destroyed farm crops and rustle cattle.
Dr Kwame Oppong-Anane, Chairman of Ghana Cattle Ranching and Transhuman Committee of MOFA, reiterated that the issue of cattle rustling and insecurity across the cross-border countries was serious and called for multisectoral approach to help deal with the problem.