Ghanaians have to volunteer information on suspicious activities and characters in their communities to the security agencies to help fight crime and threats of terrorism.
Superintendent of Police, Mr Daniel Yaro, District Police Commander in-charge of Garu and Tempane who gave the advice said the support would enable the agencies to preserve the prevailing peace and security for sustainable development.
The Commander was speaking to community leaders drawn from the Garu and Tempane districts to build their capacities as part of the measures to detect and report early warning signals of terrorism and violent extremism in the communities.
The programme was organised by the Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO), a faith-based organisation. It was funded by the European Union through Coginta Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation.
It brought together community peace agents, assembly members, justice and peace committees and some security agencies.
The Commander noted that threats of terrorism against Ghana were real, especially within communities bordering Burkina Faso and Togo that had experienced some attacks in recent times. Hence, Ghana had to be on its guard.
He emphasised that the Police and other security services worked with information made available to them and urged community members to be wary of the threats and report any strange activity for swift action.
“The threats are real and we can even say that some of them may be here because Burkina Faso and Togo are close by and …we need to be vigilant, open our eyes and expose them before they attack us,” he said.
Mr Joseph Bangu, Director in-charge of Good Governance, Justice and Peace, NABOCADO, who took the participants through violent extremism, early signals and how to prevent them said the programme would build the capacity of local level structures on early warning signals and response to activities of extremists.
Community leaders, he said, always engaged with the people so it would be easier for them to identify any stranger for monitoring so the programme would help build the resilience of the communities and create an interface between them and the security agents.
“We are realising that civilian-security interface is very important. It builds trust so that they are able to give information because early warning signals can only be picked from civilians, therefore, chiefs need to mobilise and sensitise their people as a joint responsibility,” he said.
Mr Anabila Issaka, District Chief Executive for Tempane, lauded the efforts of NABOCADO and its partners in promoting peace and cohesion, saying, terrorists exploited opportunities created by communities and urged residents to use non-violent means to settle their differences.
He said the training would complement the government’s efforts to fight crime through various interventions, which the District Security Council had been strategising for the protection of the district from external attacks.