The Minister of Defence Dominic Nitiwul has said criminals tried to blow up a bridge using improvised explosive devices for the first time in Bawku in the Upper East Region, fueling growing violent spillover from a jihadist war across the border in Burkina Faso.
The once vibrant border town is caught up in a decades-long dispute between two rival communities that some experts worry could add to instability and allow jihadists opportunities to infiltrate Ghana.
“The threat of terrorism hanging around Ghana through the corridors of Bawku is real,” Nitiwul told Parliament on Wednesday.
“So, the security agencies are working within Bawku and its precincts with the mindset that if we do not stop what is happening in Bawku now, we risk the situation where Ghana can be thrown under terrorist attacks.”
He added: “Don’t let’s joke with Bawku. And that is how terrorists operate.”
“What is happening today is not about chieftaincy. It is criminality. Those operating are criminals,” Nitiwul said.
He said security is being beefed up in the area to keep law and order.
“Government has done what it can on its part to ensure that Bawku is peaceful. We have moved Bawku from 50 to 400 soldiers, so we are sending another 500 military task force to Bawku alone next week,” he added.
Benin, Ivory Coast and Togo have already suffered Jihadist attacks and incursions across their borders, but Ghana has so far escaped a direct attack linked to Islamist militants in Burkina Faso, reports AFP.
Tensions often flare between the ethnic Kusasi and Mamprusi over the right to choose a new chieftain in Bawku. A heavy police and army presence is already in the region to keep the peace.
Over 10 people have died in clashes in Bawku over the past few days, security sources said.