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West Africa and Sahel

Thousands of Burkinabes fleeing to Ghana for refuge

As terrorists attack increases in Burkina Faso, it’s citizen are fleeing to border town of Ghana for protection.

At least, official figures put the growing numbers to 4,000 Burkina Faso nationals who are seeking refuge in some parts of the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region.

The refugees moved to Ghana after some homes in Zoago, Bugri and Zabre, farming communities in Burkina Faso, including a police station, were attacked by terrorists believed to be jihadists, leading to loss of lives.

Many people, especially women and children, have been displaced as a result while others have sought asylum in other areas, including Ghana.

The situation is causing fear and panic among residents in the border communities, including Widnaba, Soogo, Sapeliga, Kansoogo and Googo in Bawku West District and also in Bansi in Bawku where most of the refugees are being hosted.

Apart from that, it is also putting stress on their finances and foods with residents expressing fear of imminent food shortage in the area if concrete actions were not taken to address the challenge.

Although Bawku District Security Council (DISEC) has beefed up Security with the Ghana Immigration Service, the Military and Ghana Police Service along Ghana’s border and in some of the host communities, the residents complained that the many unapproved routes were a source of concern.

Mr Elisha Afuugu Abilla, the Assemblyman for the Widnaba Electoral Area, where more than 1,773 refugees are being hosted, told the Ghana News Agency that the residents were living in fear because of the presence of the refugees.

He said most of the refugees were women and children, who are being hosted by some community members in their homes, while others were staying in uncompleted buildings, shops and stores in the community.

He appealed for more vigilance at the border, especially on the many unapproved routes in the area.

“Because of relationship, whatever we prepare, we share with them because as they were running, they could not pick anything apart from their children.

But the issue is that we did not get good yields due to poor rainfall and invasion of elephants during the farming season and the little that we thought could have taken us through to the next season is what we are spending on the refugees which in the long run will affect us,” he said.

Mr Issahaku Tahiru, the District Chief Executive for Bawku West, told the GNA in an interview that more than 4,000 refugees were registered in the district so far as result of the recent attacks in Burkina Faso but noted that DISEC was on top of the issues.

He said security had been beefed up along Ghana’s borders and appealed to the residents to remain calm and report any suspicious characters or activities to the security agencies for action.

“We, at the DISEC level are to ensure that our borders are properly policed and that is being done perfectly. The Military have taken charge, the police have increased surveillance and the Immigration are busy registering and screening them to ensure we, both in internal and at the border levels are well secured,” he said.

While commending Zugraan, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, Paramount Chief of Kusaug Traditional Area, for donating 104 bags of rice and four bags of corn for the upkeep of the refugees.

The DCE also explained that the Assembly was working to support the refugees.

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