Ghana not immune to terrorist attacks – NIB
Mr George Asare, North-East Regional Commander, National Intelligence Bureau, says Ghana is not immune to terrorism and violent extremism and needs to adopt measures to protect the country’s prevailing peace and democracy.
He called on the government and major stakeholders to work collectively to address issues that give rise to the formation of terrorist groups and support the security agencies to protect the country’s territory.
Mr Asare said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a symposium on preventing violent extremism organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) at Gambaga, East Mamprusi Municipality.
The Regional Commander said almost all the neighbouring countries, including Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, had experienced various forms of attacks, which put Ghana at risk.
“The communities around us have all been attacked and it has even led to a coup in Burkina Faso because the government’s attention was on extremists while other people were acting just like it happened in Mali,” he added.
He identified economic hardships, marginalisation and political exclusion as major factors that drive the youth to join violent groups and destabilise countries.
He urged the government and major stakeholders to address the concerns of Ghanaians to avert any such incidents in the country.
Mr Asare noted that Ghana’s borders was also a major concern and urged the citizenry to be vigilant and report suspicious characters in their respective communities for investigation and action.
Mr Wilberforce Zangina, North-East Regional Director, NCCE, stated that violent extremism in neighbouring countries was a worrying phenomenon for peace and national cohesion.
Mr Zangina admonished the youth to resist mouth-watering offers to join groups that tended to destabilise the country.
“It is the women, children and the marginalised who suffer most when there is violence and government spends huge sums of money on security agencies instead of undertaking development projects,” he added.
The symposium was part of the activities of the Commission with funding support from the European Union to implement a project dubbed, “preventing electoral violence and providing security to the Northern Borders of Ghana (NORPREVSEC).
It is aimed at educating Ghanaians, particularly the youth, to refrain from being candidates of violent extremism and rather support playing watchdog roles in their communities to flush out criminals.
It is also meant to fight transnational organised crimes and promote respect for human rights and the rule of law by identifying early warning signals and reporting the same to the security services.