The Ghana Police Service has said it is on a high alert following reports that suspected bandits are planning to attack communities in northern Ghana, especially those along the border with Burkina Faso.
A police wireless message last Tuesday said: “Reports indicate that Burkina Faso-based bandits are allegedly launching attacks in communities along the Burkina Faso-Ghana border.”
Consequently, the police administration has directed all police commanders in the country to increase patrols to quell the planned attacks.
Portions of the wireless message, sent to all regional police commanders to be on high alert, read: “The Burkina Faso-based bandits are allegedly planning to launch attacks within the Bolgatanga township and its environs, including areas in Tamale, in the coming days..
“The bandits are suspected to be in possession of military-grade weapons and may have already infiltrated Ghana at yet-to-be-identified locations in the northern regions and they are poised to launch attacks any moment from now.”
The message also said that already several attacks had happened in recent months at the border.
Upper East responds
In response to the directives from the police administration, the Upper East Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has increased surveillance in some communities in the region.
Consequently, residents of the region have been urged to be vigilant and report to the various security agencies all suspicious strangers who will come into their communities, hotels, guest houses and other hospitality facilities.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu, who is also the Chairman of the REGSEC, stated this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Bolgatanga yesterday.
Although Mr Yakubu did not explain the strategies that had been put in place for security reasons, he indicated that routinely the security services had been conducting patrols along the border, considering that the region’s topography was one of “long stretch land with porous borders, hence the need to close those gaps.”
He admitted that the region’s closeness to neighbouring countries in the West African subregion that were having some challenges had made it imperative for the security agencies in the region to always be on guard against such criminal elements.
That, he explained, was intended to stop them before they caused any harm to society, giving an assurance that “the situation is under control because we have always been ready and so the region is very secure.”
The regional minister further indicated that the region had its military base, as well as other security agencies that could combine forces to nip in the bud any attacks, but stressed that it was equally important for the citizenry to also volunteer “critical information” to support the efforts of the REGSEC.
High alert at borders
The high alert directive from the Ghana Police Service is the second of such directive in as many months.
Last April, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) triggered a high alert directive at Ghana’s land borders, warning of a possible invasion by some 1,800 Nigerian prisoners who had broken out of jail on Monday, April 5, 2021.
In a wireless message, the Comptroller-General of the GIS, Laud O. Affrifah, had directed all controls to inform their officers on the ground to be on high alert following the escape of those prisoners.
The GIS also advised residents of border communities to be cautious in dealing with strangers and visitors who tried to get into Ghana through the borders.
Officially, Ghana’s land borders have remained closed since March 2020 when the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, gave the directive as part of efforts to stop the importation of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) into Ghana and also curb its spread.
In September 2020, the airports were reopened, but the land borders remain closed.
However, the porous nature of the borders and the number of unapproved routes at those borders have posed a challenge to security men who are to ensure that the directive is enforced.