Illegal mining may prove breeding grounds for terror recruits - Security expert
A Defence and Security expert has pointed to the mining areas as potential breeding grounds to recruit people to engage in terror acts.
According to Brigadier General Emmanuel Kotia (retd.) such was the case in April 2015 when terrorist struck at a minefield in Burkina Faso.
“What they do is that they target people who are actually deprived, people who are poor, people who are facing inequalities, these are places they can easily convince people to join their ranks,” he told Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday.
Brigadier General Emmanuel Kotia wants Ghana to take a cue from recent attacks in Burkina Faso.
Unidentified assailants killed four Catholics and destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary in northern Burkina Faso, a bishop said on Tuesday, the third deadly attack against Christians in the West African country in the span of two weeks. Reuters reported.
According to the security expert, such an attack on Ghana will be disastrous.
It will lead to internal displacement, kidnapping, social disharmony, affect education, deepen poverty, diminish access to public facilities, create uncertainty and limit foreign investment, he argued.
Explaining the dynamics of the current spate of terrorism he said the focus has shifted from the targeting of foreign nationals to targeting churches and deprived communities.
Using the mining sector to illustrate this point, Emmanuel Kotia said they are very vulnerable.
“Those who engage in illegal mining are engaged in it for a livelihood. The terrorists come with brainwashing agenda knowing that their plans are not realistic and feasible. The miners require easy money which this group can afford.”
The vulnerabilities in Ghana’s mining sector are well documented. The Government until recently had banned small-scale mining. There still remain enforced a media and national campaign against the activities of illegal mining. The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Illegal Mining formed for this purpose has been busy.
However, illegal mining, also known as galamsey, still persists. It is estimated to have destroyed water bodies, farmlands and forest reserves.
But the miners are fighting back. According to them, the campaign has deprived them of their daily bread. This according to the security watch is what must attract the attention of security stakeholders in addressing the emerging threat.
Brigadier General Emmanuel Kotia is however positive that cabinet’s approval of a counter-terrorist policy framework in 2018 is a step in the right direction.
In addition to that, he wants the police and the other security agencies to deploy preventive counter-terrorism units along the borders of the country to showcase the countries preparedness to deal with the menace.
Even more, he called for the deployment of CCTV cameras fixed at vantage points in the country and effectively monitored.