Ghana: Authorities say they have foiled a planned bombing attack

Ghana’s government fears an escalation of violence could benefit jihadist groups in neighboring Burkina Faso.
Criminals” have attempted to blow up a bridge in a northern region of Ghana plagued by communal tensions, the government said, fearing that an escalation of violence could benefit jihadist groups in neighboring Burkina Faso.
More than ten people have died in the past five days in the Bawku region, near the border, where violence often breaks out between the Kusasi and Mamprusi ethnic groups, according to local authorities.
Ghana’s Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul told parliament Wednesday that criminal elements attempted to blow up a bridge on Monday with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the area.
The use of IEDs in Ghana is a first, and raises questions as it requires a certain degree of “professionalism.”
“What is happening today has nothing to do with” disputes between tribal chiefs, but “it is about criminality”, said the minister. “Those who operated are criminals,” he added, without saying more about the identity of the attackers.
The northern regions of Benin, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire have already suffered attacks and incursions by jihadist groups that thrive in the Sahel and seek to move southward.
Ghana has so far escaped an attack, but the country of 33 million people shares with its Gulf of Guinea neighbors characteristics conducive to infiltration, financing and even recruitment of jihadists among locals, including porous borders, a weak state presence in the north, smuggling networks and inter-communal tensions.
The minister said he had strengthened the security apparatus in Bawku, increasing the number of soldiers on site from 50 to 400. He plans to send another 500 troops next week.