The Upper East Regional Peace Council has urged opinion leaders and the youth in the Garu and Kpatia communities, in the region, to be vigilant and help the security agencies fight violent extremists’ acts and related crimes.
The council sensitised opinion leaders including chiefs, queen mothers, Assembly members and youth groups at Kpatia and Garu communities to be able to detect early signs, recognise acts of the extremist and report to the right authorities.
Mr Ali Anankpieng, the Executive Secretary of the Upper East Regional Peace Council, noted that, fighting violent extremism could not be left to the security agencies alone and called on stakeholders to be vigilant and develop the habit of saying something whenever they see something suspicious.
The sensitisation, with funding support from the United Nation Development programme (UNDP), formed part of the campaign, dubbed, “see something, say something”, aimed at arming citizens to be able to identify suspicious characters, understand what has been identified and report same to the right authorities.
The council, last June trained officials of Civil Society Organisations, local government officials, key community individuals among others who are leading the sensitisation campaign in the various communities.
Naba Sayibu Amadu, the Regent of Kpatia, acknowledged the works of the Council in educating people about violent extremism.
” Over time, I realised there were these individuals who usually ask for some few minutes in gatherings to educate people about violent extremism, they talk about the essence of peace and how to identify the acts of the terrorist and report appropriately and I think that has really gone down well with the people,” he stated.
“A large number of my people now question strangers including those selling items if they had the permission of the Chief or the Assembly member, quite from that I have directed that Mosques in my community be closed at odd hours to help us track strangers,’’ he added.
Mr Bartholomew Azumbil, the Assemblyman for the Natinga Electoral Area, said Foreigners easily crossed with goods from Togo to the District, intending to sell on credit to establish relationships and it was prudent people were on high alert and careful about the kinds of relationship they built with such people.
Mba Sulemana, a representative of Naba Awini Akuntam II, the Chief of Garu, stated that there were sanctions for individuals who accommodated dubious characters without the knowledge of community leaders, emphasising that, the work of the council had energised them to keep to the fight against violent extremism.
Mr Yakubu Seidu, the Assemblyman of the Tamme Electoral area, said the area was remarkably close to Burkina Faso where the acts of the Extremists had taken place and the call by the council was in the right direction. -GNA