The political crises in Burkina Faso since the overthrow of President Blaise Compaoré has steadily seen the security situation of the country deteriorated over the past ten years.

The situation became worse after the transitional government organised a presidential election that brought former Prime Minister and President of the National Assembly, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, to the nation’s highest office. Since his election, the government has had resistance from various groups who believe it is incapable of confronting the country’s multiple challenges.

The situation has given rise to violent groups like highway bandits, local militias and armed bands of terrorists. These groups carry out various forms of violence, from pillaging to religiously motivated attacks. These violent trends are mostly affecting the country’s northern and eastern regions and gradually spreading throughout the country. The central powers in Burkina Faso, and the army, in particular, have been substantially weakened by these crises.

Burkina Faso is gradually becoming one of the most violent and deadly states in the world. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), militant groups have more than tripled their attacks over the last year, demonstrating that they are increasingly entrenched across the country.

Looking at the history of refugees in West Africa, Ghana has been the final destination for most refugees from far and near including countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone Côte d’Ivoire and many others. Given its central geographical position in West Africa, Burkina Faso is sharing boundaries with most parts of the northern regions of Ghana. Burkina is not only sharing boundaries with Ghana but also shares family ties, ethnic ties and economic ties. Most people living within the borders of these two countries have intermarried and they have families residing in both countries which makes it easier and attractive for Burkinabes to seek shelter in Ghana.

Tribes like Mosi, Bisa and others who have their origin in Burkina are also living in Ghana not only along with the border towns but in most parts of Ghana. These tribes have families in both countries who they visit often. With the help of ECOWAS’ free movement, they can cross to Ghana anytime they wish. Due to these crises, most of them have already crossed to Ghana.

According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have already been displaced due to the crises. “Burkina Faso is, for the first time in its history, facing massive internal displacement,” the report said. More than half of these people have already crossed to Ghana for safety and more are on their way coming if the situation is not taken care of. Repeated raids by armed groups and insecurity in Burkina have also triggered an unprecedented humanitarian emergency that needed urgent attention.

According to Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the government is undertaking many projects to further improve the relations between Ghana and Burkina Faso. Some of the projects, he said, include railway interconnectivity project linking Ghana and Burkina Faso, designed to ensure greater cross-border trade and regional integration and up to 100 megawatts of power will be supplied directly to Burkina Faso from Ghana.

Apart from these economic ties, the Government of Ghana is building with its counterpart in Burkina Faso, most Ghanaians in the northern part of Ghana ply their trade in Burkina by supplying them with goods ranging from edible to non-edible products and also buy livestock from Burkina. Due to the insecurity in the country, all these people are sitting home idle, increasing the economic hardship in the northern part of the country. People can no longer take care of their families, only the future will tell what will happen.

The Ghana government through the Ministry of National security has undertaken several measures since the disturbances in Burkina erupted, by sending security personnel along the borders to ensure that no single insurgent can cross to Ghana to ferment trouble to destabilise the country. 427 suspected criminals have been arrested by a joint military and police team after a swoop along the borders. 

Commander of the Operation, Col. Richard Mensah, said, the operation was carried out in the five regions of Northern Ghana and the Savanes region of Togo, which is highly commendable.

But is this action enough to take care of the economic activities that have come to a standstill and the huge number of refugees Ghana is going to welcome soon?

Despite all these measures being put in place, Ghana has already started facing security challenges as a result of the ongoing crises in Burkina Faso. Police personnel manning Ghana’s borders to Burkina Faso at Hamile in the Upper West Region arrested a Burkinabe with a loaded handgun at the Hamile Roman Catholic Church (JoyNews).

This is an election year in Ghana and we already have our problems with elections in this country plus these issues mentioned above, I don’t think the future looks good.

So I, therefore, call on the government of Ghana especially the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to use his good office to take immediate diplomatic steps as he did during the crises in Togo, by calling both sides to the table to convince them to smoke the peace pipe for the betterment of both countries and the world at large.