The National Peace Council (NPC) has disclosed that terrorists have targetted Ghana’s capital, Accra, and other coastal cities within West Africa.
The NPC disclosed this at a training programme organised by the NPC in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to prevent any cross-border terrorist attacks in Ghana, a West African nation next door to terror-stricken Burkina Faso.
According to the NPC, the terrorists have target Ghana and other countries.
“That is their plan. The terrorists have voiced it― their intention to reach coastal West Africa. It is one of their avowed aims. We’ve heard they want to be in cities like Accra, Cotonou, Lagos, Abidjan, et cetera. That is their aim because these are the economic centres in the coastal countries within West Africa. Lagos is the economic centre of Nigeria.
“Accra is the economic centre of Ghana. I think Cotonou is the same for Benin. If they are coming to Ghana from Burkina Faso, they can do that through our borders here in the Upper East Region as one of their routes. The essence of this training programme is to raise awareness for people to look out for things that they can do to prevent violence including violent extremism.
“You look at the raging spread of violent extremism in the sub-region. From Mali, it is now in Burkina Faso. Ghana is just close to Burkina Faso. There is the essence to start preparing against any terrorist act. And one of the things is to ensure that we don’t fall in the same place that others have fallen. For example, before 2016, Burkina Faso had not experienced violent extremism or terrorism. But from 2016 up to 2021, the country has had a series of them. And the recent one was even the deadliest.
“Within five years from 2016, Burkina Faso has experienced very violent extremist activities. But this is a country that never lived through it before 2016. But now, it is a hotspot for such activities,” the NPC’s Executive Secretary in the region, Ali Anankpieng, told Starr News at Paga, the district’s capital.”
The NPC added that the factors that influenced terrorists to attack our neighbouring Burkina Faso were present in Ghana saying: “The same drivers of this violent extremism in Burkina Faso are in Ghana. One is the increasing youth population and its attendant problem of unemployment. Then, the existing conflicts that the extremists are exploiting, which we have here― land conflicts, chieftaincy conflicts, issues of ethnic identity that have been turned into conflicts. The same factors are here. So, it’s just a matter of fact that extremists would have a reason to do the same in Ghana as they are doing in Burkina Faso. This [training programme] is just to raise awareness that whatever they (the participants) see in other places that is causing conflict, the same exists here. We are not different from those places that are already in conflict.
“So, we are looking at how they (the participants) can handle the existing conflicts, how they can prevent the emerging ones, how they can promote peace generally across the communities by raising awareness on the effects of violence and how violence starts in the first place. In Ghana, people are fighting over land, over water resources.”
Youth groups drawn from communities in Kassena-Nankana West, a border district in the Upper East Region, benefitted from the training programme.
They were trained on how to use dialogue to prevent things that attracted terror to neighbouring Burkina Faso from taking root in Ghana.