Head of the Ghana Refugee Board, Dr. Kofi Anani is asking the country to be circumspect in its dealing with the recent surge in cross-border movements of Burkinabes into Ghana.
He said the issue has major security implications.
In an interview with 3news.com’s Natalie Fort, he noted the Ghana Refugee Board is dealing with the over 300 Burkinabes who fled terrorist attacks at home to Ghana’s Upper West region for refuge.
He however warned there is a trend being witnessed as this is the second batch of asylum seekers from Burkina Faso.
“Ghana must be wary of these cross-border movements from Burkina Faso and Mali, as this is the second batch of persons seeking asylum here. In view of the terrorist dimensions, we must be wary as we may not be prepared in the case of any eventuality.”
Hundreds of victims of terrorist attacks in neighbouring Burkina Faso are seeking refuge in Ghana, according to officials of the Sissala East Municipal Assembly in the Upper West Region.
This is due to the current trend of attacks by extremists that have affected neighboring Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali among others. Dr. Anani assessed that Ghana could be a target, hence the need to screen the asylum seekers to ensure they do not infiltrate.
“This has the likelihood to overstretch our humanitarian capacity, as we still have refugees who have been here for over the past 20 years which has developmental implications. About a month ago a number of Burkinabe’s were displaced due to a chieftaincy dispute, and we are observing a trend now.”
Currently, there are about 300-500 Burkinabes in Ghana as a result of the recent cross-border movements due to displacement in Burkina Faso. Most of these persons claim to be farmers, and have expressed the desire to continue their farming activities in Ghana.
Dr. Kofi Anani noted that although the Refugee Board, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other stakeholders will be prepared to let them continue farming, the security agencies must first verify they are actually farmers.
“These Burkinabes are looking to come in, settle down, get their farms here, plant their crops and pay royalties at the end of the season to the land owners, since many of them are claiming to be farmers, the security agencies are screening them to determine if that’s factual,” he added. “When issues of this nature happen all security agencies are involved; the National Security, Bureau of National Investigation, Police, Municipal Chief Executives, as well as the Ghana Immigration Service and NADMO. Due to the origin and nature of displacement being attributed to terrorism, these agencies are on the ground to ascertain whether the asylum seekers are who they claim to be, once this is done the GRB and UNHCR are called in for the humanitarian aspect”
The Ghana Refugee Board projects more of such cross-border movements will occur from Burkina Faso and Mali into Ghana in the coming weeks.
Source: 3news.com | Ghana