AFRICA/GHANA - Resolve local conflicts to eliminate fertile ground for jihadist groups present on the borders

Thursday, 1 June 2023 jihadists   bishops   peace  

Accra (Agenzia Fides) - Attention must be paid to terrorist threats from neighboring states such as Burkina Faso, Togo and the Ivory Coast, as requested by the Ghana Bishops' Conference (GCBC).
The appeal was launched on May 31 by the President of the GCBC. Msgr. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani (see interview with Fides on 24/5/2023), during a regional dialogue session on the evolution of the conflicts in the Bono region, in Sunyani.
The National Catholic Secretariat organized the meeting, which was attended by traditional leaders, representatives of religious bodies, security services, youth groups, politicians, business associations and high school students.
Msgr. Gyamfi declared that the security and protection of the nation should be everyone's concern, and called for a shared commitment to achieve a more secure and harmonious country.
"We must all do our part to help promote peace, stability and social cohesion", he remarked.
Ghana is considered one of the most stable countries in West Africa, but the presence of latent conflicts, such as the one in the Bawku region, in the north, on the border with Burkina Faso
(see Fides, 13/4/2022), could offer fertile ground for the infiltration of jihadist groups present in neighboring states. Jihadists from Burkina Faso could offer support - fighters, weapons or training - to both sides as a way to win local allies for a future insurrection against the Accra government. In the last decade we saw how jihadist groups have managed to spread in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger precisely by taking advantage of local conflicts.
In recent years, jihadists have moved into Ghana, attacking security forces just 40 miles from Bawku, across the borders of Burkina Faso and Togo.
For this reason, the GCBC, together with other entities of the Catholic Church in Ghana, supports initiatives to resolve local conflicts.
In the case of the Bono region, regional minister Justina Owusu-Banahene has stated that it is one of the three most peaceful regions in the country and has praised the security services for helping to maintain peace and stability in the area.
However, the regional minister has pointed out that security problems such as perennial conflicts among tribal chiefs, land disputes and disputes, illegal mining, high unemployment and the activities of Fulani nomadic herders threaten peace and the stability of the region. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 1/6/2023)