The committee, which would be meeting twice every year would work out strategies to address the activities of the Youga Mining Company, a Burkina Faso based gold mining firm and other illegal mining activities at the boundary separating the two countries at Sapeliga in the Bawku West District.
It would also work to address the deteriorating nature and disappearance of the landmark boundary pillars at the Paga border in the Kassena-Nankana West District and preserve the territorial integrity of the two countries.
The move was agreed upon when the Ghana Boundary Commission and the Burkina Faso National Boundary Commission met at Paga in the Upper East Region to discuss ways of solving boundary encroachment challenges facing the two countries especially along the Sapeliga and the Paga borders.
The delegations from the two countries agreed that the activities of the Youga Mining Company coupled with other illegal mining activities had encroached onto the territory of Ghana and was affecting the international boundary in the area.
They also came to the understanding that the pillars separating the two countries along the Paga border were deteriorating, broken down and encroached upon by human settlement and activities and collective measures needed to be taken to address them and protect the international boundaries.
Major General Dr Emmanuel Kotia, the National Coordinator, Ghana Boundary Commission, who spoke to the media after the engagement with their counterparts in Burkina Faso, noted that the special joint technical committee would assess the mining activities at Sapeliga and the Paga areas and formulate appropriate solutions to the issues.
“Both of us have agreed that the joint technical team will meet at Sapeliga for a day’s assessment of the international boundary. We will assess the extent of damage and assess whether the activities of the Youga Mining Company in Burkina Faso has breached our boundary because it is an underground mining area.
“The second issue has to do with the Paga general area and Burkina Faso where human activities have eclipsed the boundary pillars and if the two countries do not take care, we might have destruction of the clear demarcation of the pillars, so the joint team will further make an assessment at Paga and at the next meeting we will be able to come out with some decisions that will help resolve the issue,” the National Coordinator added.
“One major decision that both teams decided upon was that we are going to regularize the meeting between Ghana and Burkina Faso and so we are going to have another meeting in Burkina Faso before the end of the year, so invariably we will always have at least two meetings in a year.”
Madam Zagre Leontine, the Permanent Secretary of the Burkina Faso National Boundary Commission, said her outfit had written to the Government of Ghana some years back, hoping for collaboration in this manner, to clearly protect and the international boundaries in the interest of each country.
She noted that the formation of the special joint technical committee and the regularization of the meetings was in the right direction to begin cooperation between the two countries and expressed the hope that stakeholders concerned would work peacefully to resolve the issues amicably.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the boundary pillars were constructed about 30 years ago and acknowledged that some of the pillars had deteriorated, while others were missing and her outfit was committed to working with the Ghana Boundary Commission to address the issues at both places and foster deeper collaboration between the two neighbouring countries.