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Tension Mounts On Ghana-Togo Border?   
 
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14-Nov-2018  
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Tension is mounting at Aflao between the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the indigenes, following the closure of unapproved routes.

Consequently, the GIS has beefed up its patrols along the south-eastern border by engaging the services of armed police and military detachments.

The Chronicle’s investigations have revealed that the closure of the unapproved routes, technically known as ‘beats or pillars’, has incurred the wrath of the natives who think their source of livelihood is being taken away from them.

However, these unapproved routes, according to the paper’s investigations, are used as conduits to ferry (in most cases) contraband and undesirable elements into Ghana, without the scrutiny of the rightful authorities.

The Chronicle was told that between Beat ‘O’ South, where the current Customs Barracks is situated, and ’13’, known as Cemetery Lagoon, Northward, the only approved pedestrian crossing is at Beat ‘9’, where personnel of both the GIS and Customs are joined by other state security details to perform their duties.
The Togolese side of the border, The Chronicle gathered, has been fenced with barbed wire, yet some unscrupulous people have managed to cut part of it, through which they enter Ghana during odd hours with contraband goods.

To help check these nefarious activities, Ghana then decided to seal all the unproved routes which are mainly footpaths, but this has incurred the wrath of the citizens staying along the border.

During a phone-in programme on a locally-based radio station, Holy FM, callers were heard inciting the indigenes to rise against the GIS for denying them their means of livelihood.

Not even the intervention of the Ketu South Municipal Chief Executive, Edem Elliot Agbenorwu, could calm down the people.

The DCE went on air to plead with the people that the security of the state supersedes the individual interest of the people, but they would simply not listen to him.

On October 23, 2018, at about 21:06 hrs, The Chronicle had a report that a GIS patrol vehicle, driven by one Peterson Baah, which was parked at Beat ‘6’ was attacked by angry residents of the area.

The following day, the rear tyres of a Border Patrol Unit (BPU) pick up with registration number GI 202 were deflated, so as to render the team immobile.

Having succeeded, the youth physically attacked the men, but the timely arrival of armed police personnel saved the GIS staff.

Similar attacks were recorded in the Aflao area, and in all cases, the District Police Command went to rescue the frontier personnel.
On the 27th of October, 2018, for instance, officers on patrol were escorting three Nigerian nationals they had arrested to the border for further action.

On reaching Beat ’11’, they saw a group of travelers being kept in a house.

The travelers ran away upon seeing the officers, but one was arrested. However, a local resident prevented the personnel from sending him to the main border.

The GIS personnel mobilised and made an attempt to arrest the said resident, but he managed to escape through the barbed wire into Togo.

This, The Chronicle gathered, the infuriated local residents, who invaded the scene holding   offensive weapons such as machetes and clubs.

Those at the Togolese side also pelted the officers with stones, injuring Assistant Superintendent of Immigration (ASl) Paul Kelvinson, leader of the patrol team, in the process.

A warning shot was fired to disperse the angry crowd and calm was subsequently restored. Sources at the scene told this reporter that as the drama unfolded, the security personnel at the Togo side of the border also looked on unconcerned when the attackers were fleeing Ghana and crossing into Togo.

Investigations established that as the situation became tense, the GIS called the Interior Ministry, which also contacted the military for assistance.

Parliament, a few years ago, passed a law which enables personnel of GIS to carry weapons at duty points, but that is yet to happen.

Information gathered from a top security set up in Accra indicated that the government is making frantic efforts to construct patrol routes on the Ghanaian side of the border with Togo to facilitate the easy movement of border security personnel.

The source intimated that already personnel of the 49 Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) have been visiting the ground and conducting feasibility studies for the border patrol route construction.

The  Interior Minister, Ambrose Derry, who is currently touring the Volta Region, is expected to visit the troubled spot today to acquaint himself with developments on the ground.
 
 
Source: The Chronicle
 
 

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