33 Suspected Terrorists Grabbed by National Security
Some 33 individuals with suspected ties to terrorism have been arrested by officers of National Security in the Savelugu Municipality of the Northern Region.
The arrested, who are believed to have links to terrorist cells in Mali and Burkina Faso, have been airlifted to Accra. The arrests have reportedly left residents in the rural areas where the bunch were picked up in a state of shock and fear.
A general secretary of a Fulani welfare group confirmed to Accra-based Joy FM that he was called in to act as a translator in investigations
“An officer called me from the National Security to come and assist them in their investigations. They told me about the swoop and their suspicion that the suspects had some connections with terrorists. So I was there to help interpret the Fulani language. The National Security was investigating the phone conversations of these suspects,” the ad-hoc translator said.
Meanwhile, reports say 27 of the 33 individuals have been granted bails. Those being held, however, include the owner of an Islamic learning centre in the Northern Region.
Ghana among unstable neighbours
Ghana is bordered on the north, east and west by countries battling various degrees of security concerns. This presents a challenge to the country that has been West Africa’s most stable polity, along with Senegal, in the last three decades.
The relative peace and security Ghana enjoys in West Africa have been attributed by experts to central forces and national symbols that pull the different ethnic and religious groupings to common grounds. Even with more than 30 ethnic groups, Ghana seems to find the balance necessary for order, according to a doctoral dissertation by Hippolyt Akow Saamwan Pul in 2015.
In comparison, Burkina Faso, Togo and Cote D’Ivoire, three neighbours with similar ethnic and religious divisions, have not been able to maintain stability to the level of Ghana’s.
While Cote D’Ivoire has only in the last decade found a peaceful rhythm, Burkina Faso cannot boast of a similar situation. In the wider sub-region, Mali, Niger and even Nigeria have given causes for concern.
The fear has been that when bandits and Islamic fundamentalists threaten the central governments in other countries, Ghana stands to suffer from the spillover effect.
Although all three of Ghana’s land entrepots are theoretically under threat, the three northern regions have been identified as the most vulnerable.
This is mainly due to the fact that that the insecurity in Burkina Faso is the most intense situation closest to Ghana and also because the northern part of the country poses the biggest security challenges.
Instability in the Sahel and Burkina Faso
The Sahel region is often thought to constitute the territorial stretch from northern Senegal in the east to northern Ethiopia in the west, and from northern Cameroon in the south to southern Algeria in the north.
A lot of the political instability in this part of the world has been attributed to the arid climate which makes crop farming difficult, thus giving room to famine that threatens national governments.
France and the United States have been militarily invested in this region to help fight Islamic fundamentalists and bandits who have presented serious difficulties to governments.
According to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), some of the countries that have had it worse from the violence unleashed by fundamentalists and bandits include Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.
In the latter country, the Burkinabe government is not winning the war against the insurgency of Islamic fundamentalist rebels. Indeed, Burkina Faso has even been forced to arm civilians to help in the fight against the fundamentalists.
This measure to arm civilians also presents its own risk, according to security analysts. In a country as unstable as Burkina Faso, civilians with guns could be dangerous to the central government in Ouagadougou.