A total of 159 terrorists and extremists attacks occurred in the Sahel and West Africa Sub-region, the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, has revealed.
He said the attacks resulted in 538 fatalities and 127 injuries, and displacing many of the victims of the attacks that occurred this year, between July 1 and August 28.
Mr Kan-Dapaah disclosed this when he opened a two-day workshop titled “The Role of Civil Society Organisations in Ghana’s Border Security Management”.
It was organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative, a local chapter of Transparency International, in collaboration with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) to partner CSOs under the Strengthening Border Security in Ghana Project (SBS Ghana).
The SBS Ghana is funded by the European Union Trust Fund For Africa and implemented by the Ghana Immigration Service and ICMPD.
The project seeks to, among others, work closely with CSOs, universities, research and think tanks to submit research and action projects highlighting innovative approaches and best practices on mobility and border management.
Opening the workshop, Mr Kan-Dapaah expressed concern about the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in the Sahel and West African Region.
He said the Sahel and the West African Region was going through difficult times.
Mr Kan-Dapaah observed that countries such Togo and Benin, which one thought would not be attacked, were currently being attacked.
The National Security Minister indicated that insurgent had taken control of six of the thirteen regions of Burkina Faso.
He said Burkina Faso was located in a strategic position of the Sub-region.
Mr Kan-Dapaah said Ghana was not immune to attacks by terrorists and extremists and called on all stakeholders to forestall any attack on the country.
“The security agencies and stakeholders are not sleeping and are working closely to respond to the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in the Sub-region,” he said.
Mr Kan-Dapaah called for closer collaboration between security and state agencies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on effective border management to promote security and peace in the Sub-region.
He said CSOs had data, skills and knowledge which could be tapped as part of efforts to ensure border security and peace in the Sub-region.
“This is the time when active collaboration with CSOs is critical if we want to secure the security of the country,” he said.
He appealed to the media to be circumspect in reporting on security issues to sustain the peace and security of the country.
The Head of the European Union Delegation in Ghana, IrchardRazaaly, in his remarks, said the security of the Sahel and West African Sub-region was coming under threat through activities of extremists and terrorists.
He said promoting security in the border regions could not be the responsibility of government alone.
Mr Razaaly said the SBS Ghana could help curb the threat of violent extremism in the Sub-region.
“This project will help give a new vision of what borders should look like,” Mr Razaaly said.
The Executive Director of GII, Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, said the emergence of terrorism and extremism was posing a threat to the Sub-region.
She said the porous land borders made border communities vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Mrs Ofori-Kwafo said the SSB Ghana was seeking the support and collaboration in ensuring effective border security, and the two-day programme gave the beneficiary CSOs the opportunity to receive a grant of 700,000 euros to showcase their projects.
She called for the active involvement of CSOs in border security issues.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE