IPEG argued that “Violent extremism and terrorism thrive creditably in a context of insecurity. Where there is a high propensity for discontent, disgruntlement, desolation, anxiety, restlessness etc. among the populace due to human security challenges, then there is a greater prospect for violent extremism and terrorism to fester.”
This was contained in the Peace and Security Index (PSI) report issued by IPEG in Tamale on Friday and signed by its Programme Director, Mr Justin Bayor and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale.
The PSI report analysed reported incidents such as armed robbery, youth-related and politically motivated violence, violence against women and children, murder amongst others that happened in the country during the last quarter of 2019.
The PSI showed that within the period, 227 security incidents and threats were recorded, as compared to 176 incidents and threats for the same period in 2018, and there was a total of 177 reported deaths and 519 reported injuries and harms within the period.
With regard to the total 177 reported deaths, 72 reported deaths were related to road accidents, 41 reported deaths were associated with disaster, 32 reported deaths were recorded for murder and suicide, 14 for armed robbery, six for chieftaincy related violence, four for health related violence, three for oil, gas and mining, two for youth related violence, two for violence against children and one for drug related violence.
In terms of the 519 reported injuries and harms for the period, 251 reported injuries and harms were recorded under road accidents, 180 were recorded for health related violence, 31 were recorded under disaster, 29 for armed robbery, nine for politically motivated violence, eight for chieftaincy related violence, three for demonstrations, three for violence against children, two for oil, gas and mining, two for murder and suicide and one for youth related violence.
The statement said “it is noteworthy that in the past quarter, there has been a noticeable increase in terrorist activities in the Sahelian region” adding “According to a United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) report, extremist attacks have increased five-fold in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since 2016.”
It quoted the report as saying “Most significantly, the geographic focus of terrorist attacks is shifting eastwards from Mali to Burkina Faso and is increasingly threatening West African coastal states.”
The statement said “Consequently, as Ghana, a coastal state, marches into the 2020 elections along with its attendant vigilante complications and coupled with the human security challenges enumerated in this (PSI) report, there could be a snowballing of discontent, disgruntlement, anxiety, anguish etc in the country.”
It argued that “This may inadvertently prop up the terrain for violent extremism and terrorism since the security of the nation will be most tested in the year of greatest vulnerability. It is thus predictable that Ghana is most likely to experience violent extremist attacks in 2020, especially in any of the five regions of the north which, are much closer to the Sahel, because 2020 will be a year of most vulnerability for the country.”
It appealed to the government “To employ all its security machinery to intensify their border patrols along the northern border with Burkina Faso and to improve its intelligence gathering in the five regions of the north in order to forestall any potential terrorist attacks in 2020.”