Three hundred suspected criminals operating along the country’s borders and their surrounding areas have been arrested in a multinational border security operation.
The operation, which was conducted last Wednesday, saw the operatives from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire arrest 76 foreigners and 224 Ghanaians at separate locations from Banda-Nkwanta through the Bui National Park to Hamile and the Tumu areas.
The suspects are said to have engaged in various crimes, such as illegal mining, illegal logging of trees, illicit drug dealings and illegal possession of arms.
Codenamed: “Operation Koudanlguo”, the exercise was undertaken along the common borders of those countries to combat transnational crimes such as smuggling, drug trafficking, terrorism, human trafficking, illicit arms dealing, among others.
More than 500 makeshift structures were also destroyed by the joint security operatives at Dokokyina, an illegal mining settlement in the Bole District, where illegal mining activities and other transnational crimes were said to be gaining notoriety.
The security operatives seized items such as 70 pieces of dynamites, 13 registered and unregistered motorbikes, 10 locally manufactured guns, a tractor, three chainsaw machines and four chainsaw machine blades.
The rest were a lighting rope, a dagger, two Red Star live AAA pellets, a grape size led pellet, a large quantity of dried leaves suspected to be marijuana and metal detectors.
Briefing journalists after the operation in Bole, the Leader of Ghana’s planning team of Operation Kuodanlguo, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Ansah-Akrofi, said “the suspects have been screened and will be put before court, while some of the foreigners whose crimes are not heinous will be repatriated to their various countries”.
He said enough personnel and resources had been mobilised by the security agencies to ensure the success of the operation to help safeguard the security of the country’s borders.
Aside from the joint operations, Lt Col Ansah-Akrofi said, the security agencies had also instituted a lot of intelligence tactics that would help track and arrest criminals operating along the borders.
He, therefore, entreated the public, particularly those living along the borders, to assist the security operatives with intelligence to enable them to combat crimes along the borders.
For his part, a representative of the security agencies of Cote d’Ivoire, Major Katy Bi, said the joint operation was necessary because of the porous nature of the borders which had led to the increasing crime rate in both countries.
He expressed his country’s commitment to continue to collaborate with Ghana and other neighbouring countries to combat transnational crimes and safeguard the security of their citizenry.
Heads of security in countries including Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo, at a meeting held in Lome, Togo, early this year endorsed a proposal to conduct joint multinational operations regularly along their common borders to combat transnational crimes.
The first of such operations was conducted along the borders of the named countries in May 2018, during which a number of suspected criminals were arrested and prosecuted.
The second operation, codenamed: ‘Operation Koudanguo II’, was supported by the GAF, the Ghana Police Service, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Immigration Service, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the Forestry Commission, the Ghana National Fire Service and the National Ambulance Service.