After attacks in Burkina Faso by people who are thought to be terrorists and militants, more than 4,000 Burkinabes and some Ghanaians have fled to Ghana for safety.
The majority of the refugees are women and children who have left Bugri, Zouga, and Asongo in Burkina Faso in search of safety in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region.
Others live in villages like Natinga, Googo, Weari, Kanlesi, and Fulbes in the Widnaba Electoral Area, while others are residing in places like Adasiga, Soogo, Agoogo, Kperigu, and Kperigzousi in the Soogo Electoral Area.
They also reside in several of the localities in the Akasooga Electoral Area.
The Soogo Electoral Area is home to more than 1,000 refugees; 1,773 are residing in the Widnaba region, and 1,325 are residing in the Akasooga Electoral Area.
The enormous number of refugees has put an unfair strain on the area’s food and social services, a trend that continues to disturb the locals and requires an immediate response from duty-bearers.
Yesterday, Assembly Member for the Soogo Electoral Area Atampuri Osben Asaki told the Daily Graphic that the situation in the area was terrible and that something needed to be done right away.
Since most of the residents on both sides of the border are linked by tribe, the majority of the refugees are now housed with members of the local community.
Others who couldn’t dwell in the homes of the locals are forced to live in partially finished buildings and improvised shelters, which exposes them to the whims of the weather.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of dwellings that can accommodate them, some children, including newborns and their nursing moms, sleep outside, especially during the day.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has already given the refugees GH1.3 million worth of food and non-food items through its grant assistance to the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan Development Office (NABOCADO) of the Catholic Church.
In order to help the Burkinabe asylum seekers in the region, the Bawku Naba, Zugraan Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, has also provided sacks of food, maize, and used clothing.
According to Mr. Asaki, the local population is overtaxed because they are forced to share their meager resources, such as food and facilities, with the refugees.
He added that “given the current circumstances, the families that the refugees are staying with have no choice but to obtain extra food to feed them.”
He stressed that he was asking for help from the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) because “the local people are already poor, and the migrants’ invasion of the towns has made their situation worse.”
As a result of the terrorist attacks, locals and refugees are having trouble meeting their basic needs, he said, and the money will go a long way toward meeting those needs.
Elisha Abilla Afuugu, an assemblyman from the Widnaba Electoral Area, said that people in the area were afraid that terrorists might be among the refugees and upset the peace in the area.
However, he said, “there is relative peace among the residents, who continue to go about their everyday social and economic activities. There was fear and terror among the local people when their towns were overrun by the migrants.
He told the people there to take security seriously and always be on the lookout for suspicious people and people doing things that don’t seem right, so that security forces and community leaders could act quickly.
In the meantime, the Upper East Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has held a number of meetings to assess the security situation in border villages and to plan and carry out counterterrorism operations.
To prevent any security breaches, the security agencies, which are made up of the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, and the Ghana Armed Forces, have stepped up security in border areas.
More than 1,872 migrants, including Ghanaians, fled a turbulent area of Burkina Faso to seek asylum in Ghana in June last year as a result of militants’ terrorist assaults against local militia.
Most of the refugees were children who had fled from Beriyale, a town in Burkina Faso where two people had just been killed in an attack by people thought to be Jihadists. One of the people killed had three wives and 13 children left behind.
Most of the refugees lived in six camps in the Binduri District. These camps were made up of temporary buildings that were provided by the district assembly.
In the settlements of Issakatingen, Bansi Bulungu, Bansi Central, Yarigungu, Yalugu, and Kuloko, there were refugee camps.
About 700 people who had fled to Ghana because of the terrorist attack were camping at Gentinga in the Bawku municipality. Another 100 people now live in Sapeliga in the Bawku West District.
Again in 2019, 275 Burkinabes left their nation in response to continuous disputes involving their chieftaincy in their community and sought sanctuary in the northern region of Ghana.
These migrants settled in the Bawku West District of Widnaba.