Government is worried about growing incidents of terrorist attacks in the ECOWAS sub-region

Government is worried about growing incidents of terrorist attacks in the ECOWAS sub-region

President Nana Akufo-Addo’s Cabinet has held a three-day retreat at the Peduase Lodge in Aburi of the Eastern Region. The retreat reviewed the socio-economic performance of the government over the past six months and the increasing trend of terrorism and piracy activities in the West African sub-region.

The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, briefing the media on key issues discussed at the Cabinet Retreat in Accra on Sunday, July 18, 2021, said the economy was experiencing a gradual recovery and opening up of economic activities following the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the Ghanaian economy witnessed 3.1 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2021 and statistics from the Ghana Statistical Service pointing to a favourable outcome for the second quarter of the year.

However, he said, the government was worried that there were growing incidents of terrorist attacks in the sub-region, especially in Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger, and gradually coming southwards towards Ghana.

Additionally, there were increasing piracy activities in the Gulf of Guinea with 43 per cent of the global piracy activities taking place in the Gulf of Guinea, which were perpetrated by some West African nationals.

Cabinet, he said expressed the need to strengthen the country’s borders, enhance intelligence-gathering and sharing of intelligence among security agencies in the sub-region and invest in security technologies to crack down on such security threats.

The Minister noted that although the government, over the past four years, had improved the human resource and logistical needs of the security agencies, it was imperative for the citizens to remain vigilant and alert the security agencies on any strange activities within their communities that could pose a security threat to the nation.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said some Ghanaians had been recruited by those terrorist organizations for training and, thus, heightened the fear that if stringent measures are not taken, such persons could engage in violent attacks in the country upon completion of their training.

The Minister chronicled some attacks carried out by those terrorist organizations in the last past six months in the sub-region.

He said on April 26, 2021, the bandits abducted and killed two international journalists in Burkina Faso, on May 3, 2021, the terrorists also attacked a Village in Burkina Faso and killed 30 persons.

They also attacked and killed another 160 persons on June 5 in Burkina Faso which was the worst terrorism casualties recorded in the history of that country.

The bandits descended southwest to Cote d’Ivoire and attacked a security post and killed two soldiers and a Policeman on March 29, 2021.

On piracy, the International Maritime Bureau reported that 43 per cent of all piracy activities happening on the oceans worldwide took place in the Gulf of Guinea.

It said there have been 38 incidents of piracy in the sub-region since the start of 2021 compared to 47 recorded in the same period last year.

The Bureau reports that violence against vessel crew is on the ascendancy with more kidnapping for ransom taking place on the high seas.

He observed that the increasing piracy activities would definitely increase the cost of insurance on goods or merchandise transported through the ocean and have an invariable negative impact on the goods sold on the open market globally.

By: Stella Annan | Twitter @activetvgh

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