Violent extremist groups have targeted Ghana – WACCE

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Executive Director of the West African Center for Counter Extremism(WACCE) Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, has disclosed that Ghana has specifically been cited for violent extremist attacks in the country.

He said violent extremist groups, in the last three years,  have targeted Ghana and other coastal countries in the West African region to be attacked. Hence the news of imminent attack from the neighboring country of Burkina Faso does not come as a surprise to his outfit at all.

Mr Muqthar made this declaration in an interview with Komla Adom on the Mid Day news on TV3, Thursday, June 17.

He was speaking on the backdrop of intelligence picked by the police of an imminent extremist attack on the country from the neighboring Burkina Faso.

“We are beginning to see the movement of this threat traditionally from the Northern part of Mali but now they have engulfed the main land Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire. And so it is realistic to expect that this country will be facing this particular threat either now or later and specifically, extremist groups within the last three years mentioned Ghana and the other coastal countries as targets for their activities. So this does not come as a shock to people who work in this particular environment at all” he disclosed.

Asked what the country should do concerning this revelation, especially to the security apparatus of the country in safeguarding the people against the possible imminent violent attacks, he said “the important reality is that, it is something all of us need to understand, we need to increase awareness and education around this character of threat. Violent extremism is the kind of threat that is very complicated and we are not accustomed to it in terms of our security orientation. It is important to get the local communities educated and create the awareness that is necessary to elicit support and goodwill from the local population.

“There is no way you can succeed as security people in countering terrorism without the express support of the local community. Because local communities and individuals are better positioned to be able to identify or spot potential attackers and vulnerable groups within the local community even before law enforcement agencies will be able to do so. In security matters, we often say that security measures are a function of threat perception, your perception of the threat will lead you to certain measures. In this particular instance, you could see traditionally, the state engaging in combat measures focusing on border communities and border regions, it’s because they perceive the threat to be coming from external sources”. 

Mr Muqthar further asserted that in our circumstance, their understanding is that some individuals may have infiltrated local communities in the country, hence must include local communities and agents in the measures in order to fish out those infiltrating threats in the country.

He therefore advised the government to invest in preventive measures rather than counter measures which are more expensive when the attack has already been committed.

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah||Ghana

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