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Influx of refugees in northern Ghana is a threat we can’t underestimate – Researcher

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The Regional Coordinator of Research and Capacity Building at the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Dr Festus Kofi Aubyn has urged the government to take seriously the influx of refugees into the country.

Speaking on Top Story on Joy FM, Dr Festus Aubyn said that with the crises in Burkina Faso, the country could see extremist groups entering Ghana alongside asylum seekers.

He said measures should have been put in place immediately at the borders and adjoining communities following the coup in Burkina Faso.

“Interventions have come late. When the situation started we all knew that there was a possible influx of asylum seekers, so one would have thought that by now we will have some of the measures put in place. As we speak most of these people are being housed by border communities, which shouldn’t be the case,” Dr Aubyn said.

“I think they [government] need to fast-track some of the measures. It is a threat we cannot underestimate. Most of them are also fleeing these extremist attacks in their country of origin. There are times these extremists even recruit some of these people who have come to seek asylum or refugee status to even undertake their activities in the host countries, so it is a threat that we need to pay attention to.”

This, Dr Aubyn said, could pose a threat if not checked thoroughly especially looking at the nature of Ghana’s borders and the number of refugees trooping in.

“If we take experiences of other countries that have been in this position, there has always been the possibility of extremist groups taking advantage of the asylum system to also infiltrate and gain access into the country especially when the process of screening is not all that strict to identify them.”

Dr Aubyn’s counsel comes after reports that about 500 people from Burkina Faso communities, have arrived at Fufulso, a suburb of Central Gonja District in the Savannah Region.

Residents of the community have expressed fear for the safety of their lives and property with the presence of these migrants as the number of immigrants seems to increase by the day.

Sources in the community revealed that foreigners usually arrived at night and have since been living in the community as residents.

Also on the show, Savannah Regional Minister Saeed Muhazu Jibril has said that security officials are putting in place measures including screening to protect Ghanaians in border communities following the large influx of refugees from Burkina Faso.

He noted that the security services are in the community to avert any crises that could arise.

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