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Ghana, Burkina Faso join forces to end encroachment on buffer zone

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Officials from Ghana and Burkina Faso have embarked on a joint inspection of border pillars along their shared boundary in a move to tackle longstanding issues of encroachments and reinforce border delineation.

The buffer zone, located in Paga in the Upper East Region of Ghana and Dakola in the Burkina Faso side designated to promote security and environmental conservation, has faced challenges in recent years due to encroachments by private and commercial developers from both sides of the country.

Commissioner General of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Major General Emmanuel Kotia who led the team from Ghana, lamented the “massive encroachment” that distorts the international boundary pillars, and tasked district assemblies to meet with the Burkina Faso counterparts to immediately stop all encroachments.

“The other thing is that on the Ghana side, we’ve decided that any building that is engulfing the boundary pillars should be discontinued immediately. Going forward, we will be taking a decision on what to do to permanently preserve the buffer zone that demarcates the international boundary pillars”, Major General Kotia added.

While entreating the Ghana Immigration Service to continue vigorous patrols to protect the international border pillars, the Commissioner General of the Ghana Boundary Commission entreated community members to report to the appropriate authorities on suspicion of encroachment.

He disclosed a major meeting that is expected to take place in Bolgatanga on 13-19 May to take decisions towards finding lasting solutions to the issue of encroachment on the buffer zone.

Salamatu Dabal, Permanent Secretary of the National Boundary Commission of Burkina Faso, pledged to collaborate with her Ghanaian counterparts to resolve the issue. The Ghana Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Boniface Gambila, said the boundary lines are important and bond the two countries together.

Laud Ofori Afrifa, Deputy Controller General of the Ghana Immigration Service, said some decisive measures will be taken including demolishing illegal structures along the boundary pillars.

“These structures here, within the next 4 weeks, we are asking them to move. If they don’t move, we will come and move them away. This is Ghana territory, so a decision can be taken in the name of our  country,” he stated.

Outgoing Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu expressed optimism about the positive impact of both countries’ collaborative efforts in addressing the border encroachments and ensuring the sustainable management of buffer zones.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Paga|Ghana

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