Ghana’s President and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has warned that no country in the sub-region is insulated from the threats of terrorism.
Speaking at the opening session of the 59th ECOWAS summit in Accra on Saturday, President Akufo-Addo reiterated that the fight against terrorism must therefore be a collective effort.
He said it was critical for ECOWAS to come together and assist countries, such as Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali, that are at the front line of the battle against terrorism and violent extremism, to win the fight.
“The reports of terrorist attacks in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso are troubling. The terror attack in Burkina Faso which resulted in the death of 132 civilians, including children, on 5th June is the latest outrage. I went to Ouagadougou in the name of the community to commiserate with President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and also offer our condolences, sympathies, and support to the government and people of Burkina Faso in the dark hour.
“These developments should reinforce our collective commitment to pursue and implement with renewed vigour the decisions taken at our extraordinary summit on terrorism on 14th September 2019.
“This concerted effort, which must be a major issue and a priority objective for the Community, is the best way for us to address this security challenge. It is a matter of dignity and sovereignty, which affects all nations in the Region. None of our countries is insulated from the threats of terrorism”, he added.
Whilst thanking the countries that have already contributed to the ECOWAS Regional Security Fund, President Akufo-Addo appealed to other countries, who are yet to contribute, to do so.
“We must also pay urgent attention to the growing threat to maritime security in our Region. Acts of piracy and maritime destabilisation are on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea, thus affecting trade in our Community, and increasing the cost of imported products.
“We must operationalise the maritime centres we have established in the Region, and agree on the way forward to combat these acts of piracy. We cannot hand over control of the Gulf to pirates”, President Akufo-Addo concluded.
The Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government was attended by 15 Heads of State in West Africa.
Mali has not taken part in the meeting because it has been suspended from the regional bloc, following the recent coup d’état and political upheavals in that country.
Ghana to secure borders– Ambrose Dery
Following the recent terrorist attacks in the neighbouring Burkina Faso, Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, stated that the government was working on securing the country’s borders.
This was after there were reports of potential terrorist attacks in Bolgatanga and Tamale in the Upper East and Northern regions respectively.
According to Mr. Dery, the borders will remain closed and tightly guarded by the military and police to keep citizens safe.
“We currently have a combined operation of the army, police, and Immigration. We also have the Northern Border Project. We have already closed the borders, but the fact is that most of them are porous, so we are doing a lot to cover all those porous borders. We are not going to open the borders until we are sure it is safe enough to do so”, the Interior Minister reiterated.
Police in the Upper East Region have issued an alert that some suspected bandits from Burkina Faso are planning to attack some parts of the country.
Officials of the Sissala East Municipal Assembly in the Upper West Region indicated that hundreds of victims of terrorist attacks in neighbouring Burkina Faso in May 2019, sought refuge in Ghana.