A total of 386 suspected criminals have so far been arrested for various security infractions in the ongoing joint operation by security agencies in the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, North-East, and the Savannah Regions.
The suspects, who comprised 279 Ghanaians, and 107 foreign nationals – Burkinabe’s, Malians, Togolese, Nigerians, and Nigeriens, were arrested for various infractions and were all being strictly screened.
Brigadier General Emmanuel Okyere (RTD, the National Security Advisor, who disclosed these to journalists in Wa, said the multinational joint operation dubbed: “Operation Koudolgou” was the fourth in the series since the Accra Initiative, in 2017.
He explained that the operation sought to rid Ghana of criminals that were working in a network, and also fight terrorism, transnational and organised crimes within and along the borders as well as highway robberies and illegal mining activities.
“Some foreigners, who were arrested and screened were found at illegal mining sites and swift action was taken against them. The operation involved cordon and search, swoops, highway and border patrols as well as anti-illegal mining operations”, Brig Gen. Okyere (Rtd) said.
He said that the operation was aimed at offsetting possible terrorist attacks that had plagued neighbouring countries, and provide enough security for residents.
Brig Gen. Okyere (Rtd) said that the operation was carried out with the support of traditional authorities and not targeted at any specific ethnic group as was being speculated.
Colonel Eric Konadu, Director of Land Operations at the Ghana Armed Forces, Operation Koudanlgou IV, hinted that the foreigners who were arrested at the illegal mining sites, were found with narcotics, mining implements, weapons and other un-customised goods, which were all impounded.
The operation involved Ghana, Mali, Togo, Burkina Faso, Core D’Ivoire and Niger and drew forces from the Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Police Service, National Investigations Bureau, Ministry of National Security, Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana National Ambulance Service.
Others were the Forestry Commission, Customs Division, Narcotics Control Board and the Research Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Accra Initiative Operation, code name Operation Koudanlgou, was launched in September 2017 by Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo in response to growing insecurity linked to violent extremism in the region, and makes use of combined forces of the various security agencies within the respective countries.
The move was also to prevent a spillover of terrorism from the Sahel and to address transnational organised crime in border areas. This year Mali and Niger were admitted as observers given their proximity to coastal states and their experience in countering violent extremism.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA