Communities living along Ghana’s borders in the Upper East Region have called on the government and other stakeholders to intensify education on activities of terrorism and violent extremism to help combat the phenomenon.
This, they said, would empower residents and traders along the borders with relevant information to detect and report early warning signals of terrorists’ attacks to the law enforcement agencies for action.
It would also enable the communities to be security conscious and work towards maintaining the prevailing peace and stability in the country and prevent any spillover from neighbouring countries.
The communities made the call at a three-day training workshop organised for some Small and Medium Enterprises operators at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District who engage in cross border trade.
It was organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) with funding support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of efforts to equip cross border traders with early warning signs of terrorism and violent extremism and how to engage stakeholders to prevent spillover.
Mr Nelson Akugre, an Internal Auditor, Naara Rural Bank, said neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger and Mali had experienced terrorism and the phenomenon threatened the lives and livelihoods of border communities.
He said people living along the borders and those engaged in cross border trade were not abreast with issues concerning terrorism and violent extremism and how to detect early warning signals to curb it from escalating.
“Those in the border communities need to be trained to be able to identify suspected criminals and report them to the police because we are close to the border and people travel in and out of the country and it is difficult to know their thoughts,” he said.
Mr Edmund Alagpulinsa, another participant and resident of Paga, said Ghana was at risk of terrorist attacks and noted that when the border communities were compromised, it would spread across the country and called for intensified community sensitisation.
He said many people survived through engaging in economic activities along the borders, adding that should Ghana record any attacks, every aspect of the country’s development space would be adversely affected.
Ms Habiba Dauda, another participant noted that Ghana’s borders were porous and called on the government to beef up security in such areas to act swiftly on any suspected activities.
Mr Ali Anankpieng, the Upper East Regional Executive Secretary, National Peace Council (NPC), said the training was part of a project dubbed, “building resilience of youth and women-led MSEs through innovative and digitalisation for green and inclusive recovery”, aimed at reinforcing the sector to flourish in a green, inclusive and equitable manner.
It brought together traders along the chain of vegetables, livestock, meat, provisions, transport, currency exchange and border agents among others.
He urged the participants to be vigilant and report any suspicious characters to the law enforcement agencies to help prevent violence and terrorism in the country.
Within the first weeks of July 2022 alone, two terrorists’ attacks were recorded near Ghana’s borders at Mognori in Bawku and Paga and the situation is not only putting fear in residents in the border towns but scaring people from transacting their business across the border.
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