Terrorists’ attack spillover at Sapeliga in Bawku West – GIS

Ghana has experienced a spillover of terrorists’ activities at Sapeliga, a border community in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region, compelling unarmed security personnel to seek haven.

Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Martin Tioseh Soyeh, the Upper East Regional Public Affairs Officer, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Bolgatanga.

He said as a result of the recent attacks on Burkina Faso nationals living along the border on the Bawku enclave, many people fled into Ghana, in order to escape the attack, however, the terrorists pursued them into the country.

He said the Immigration officers stationed at the place at the time were not armed and could not defend themselves against the armed terrorists and therefore took to their heels.

“Last month, the terrorists stormed the Sapeliga market in pursuit of their targets and our officers had to flee because they were not well armed.

“We have an operation in the Bawku sector but that was not their area as at that time, so those few officers, who were unarmed just managing human traffic and had to also take to their heels since they could not withstand those attackers who were having guns,” he stated.

Currently, over 1,000 Burkina Faso nationals are seeking asylum in the Bawku enclave and many more are trooping into the country after the recent attacks in which two people were killed.

The refugees are spread across Sapeliga community in the Bawku West District, Bansi community in the Binduri District and Djantiga community in the Bawku Municipality.

Within a space of a month, two major attacks were recorded near Ghana borders, including Dakola, close to the Paga border where one person was shot dead and the Bawku sector where the two were also killed.

According to the Public Affairs Officer, the two who were killed were part of six selected persons trained for 21 days and given weapons by authorities in Burkina Faso as watchdogs to protect the border communities against terrorists’ attacks.

“The information we have gathered is that the remaining four had returned the guns back to the security services in Burkina Faso and have since run into Ghana and are currently in Kumasi,” he added.

To combat further spillover, he said, the Immigration Service was collaborating effectively with the Military and had mounted sand bags at the borders and added that snap check patrols had also been launched to ensure that communities along the borders were protected against further intrusion.

DSI Soyeh said the porous nature of the country’s borders and the many unapproved routes along Ghana’s borders had been a big challenge in combating crime in the region and urged residents living along the borders to report to the security agencies any suspected characters in their communities.

He also warned landlords to do diligent background checks before renting their houses out to people, especially foreigners.

Meanwhile, Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, has paid a visit to the communities where the refugees are being kept and donated 10 bags of rice and five cartoons of cooking oils to them.

He advised them against indulging in activities that would destabilize the peace in the communities and jeopardize their stay in Ghana.

The refugees usually travel back to their communities in Burkina Faso during the day to engage in socio-economic activities, including farming and trading, and return to Ghana at night to sleep.

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