Galamsey sites have become attractive convergence points for those who seek to hurt Ghana

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The Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Professor Kwesi Aning, has warned that illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) sites have become places where persons who seek to hurt the country are gathering.

He attributed this to the fact that gold is small, it is easy to dispose off and it is highly valuable.

Delivering an address on the theme “The Scourge of Extremism in the Sub-region, Threats to Ghana’s Security, Stability and Socio Economic Development” on Thursday July 28, he indicated that “illegal mining sites have become attractive convergence points for those who seek to hurt this country because gold is small, it is easy to dispose off, it is highly valuable… thousands of young West African youths, well armed are mining but I think the PMMC has not seen any dramatic rise in mining reserves.”

He further cautioned against fear-mongering and the deliberate misinterpretation of facts and figures in building a society that does not create the enabling environment for terrorism to take place.

“Extremist violence that we are seeing in Nigeria, in Togo, in Benin in Burkina Faso, in Mali, in Niger and elsewhere, only take place because the domestic imperatives have created an enabling environment that allows the violence to take place.

“But fear-mongering, and the deliberate misinterpretation of facts and figures will not help us in building this resilient society.

“You and I don’t have anywhere to run to if we allow something like that to take place , we don’t speak French, , we don’t have the money to resettle, we can’t swim, our European friends don’t want us as refugees, they have taken their money for development away when the Ukrainian war started, let that be a lesson to all of us that we don’t have anywhere to go apart from creating the conditions that allows stability, peace and development to take place,” he said.

Recently, the Deputy National Security Coordinator, Mr Edward Kweku Aspmani, indicated that Ghana was definitely not insulated from terror attacks,

Clearly, he said, Ghana is a target.

He explained that the terrorists have been targeting mostly resource-rich countries therefore, since Ghana is endowed with natural resources, it exposes the country to the miscreants.

Addressing a press conference on the measures that have been put in place to prevent the attacks from happening in the country, on Sunday May 22, he said “We are not insulated from those attacks therefore, we think Ghanaians should be aware. Why are we involving Ghanaians? The nature of the threats is such that it is not conventional warfare, they don’t come in with the APCs and fighter jets. They come in all forms, it could be your pastor in the church, cleric in the mosque, individuals coming in as CSOs purporting to do community work.

“That means that we all have to be vigilant. Also we know that the terrorists want access to the sea, the nature of the various attacks we have all seen in the subregion indicates that wherever they go there is some form of mineral or natural resource there particularly gold.

“So the question therefore is, if they attack cities and towns in Burkina Faso that has gold deposits, clearly, Ghana will be an interest.”

“We are clearly therefore a target that is why we are here today to seek the support of Ghanaians.”

It is recalled that a report released by the West Africa Centre for Counter Extremism (WACCE) released recently said Ghana has managed so far to stay safe from terrorist attacks on home soil, yet the country has been so close to terrorism.

Already, the report said, more than 13 Ghanaians are believed to have travelled to fight with terrorist groups since 2015. Up to twenty three (23) others have been dissuaded from leaving to join extremist groups.

“Ghana’s first recorded case was Nazir Alema Nortey3 , a young university graduate, who shockingly left the country in august 2015 to join ISIS before sending a message back to his parents to announce his new found cause.

“He was killed in Syria by April 2016. Professor Kofi Awoonor, a renowned Ghanaian poet and academic, was killed in the West Gate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya when Al Shabab fighters besieged the mall in 2013,” the report said.

The threat has been menacingly and quickly spread, occurring through a spill over phenomenon, has ravaged the Northern borders of not only Burkina Faso but also of Ivory Coast, Benin and Togo recently. With all its direct neighbors under attacks, Ghana has descending from the Sahel towards Coastal States in the last five years.

“Even though the fatality numbers are presently down from the peak of over 7,200 in the region in 2014, the threat has increased in complexity and geographical spread. Today 53% of all ECOWAS now been encircled by the threat. These developments are dangerous for Ghana.

“Ghana’s proximity to these countries (Burkina Faso to the North, Benin and Togo to the East and Ivory Coast to the West) exposes the country to extremist recruitment or attacks or both,” it added.

It further stated that the “unending Bawku chieftaincy conflict, the ethnic tensions in Northern Ghana and the unresolved challenge of Western Togoland separatists in the Eastern border regions amplify the risks.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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