June 14, 2024
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National forum on trending conflict issues held in Tamale

The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference through the Directorate of Governance, Justice and Peace of National Catholic Secretariat has organized the National Forum on trending conflict issues in Tamale.

The forum’s main objective is to raise awareness about the conflict issues in Ghana that have the potential of providing fertile grounds for violent extremism in the country and to provide a platform for dialogue and advocacy for appropriate actions.

The program which is under the theme; ‘Trending Conflicts In Ghana: Fertile Grounds For Violence Extremism; A Call For Action”, is one of several activities being implemented under the Sahel Peace Initiative in Ghana.

The forum also seeks to bring relevant stakeholders together to run a postmortem about the phenomenon and provide the platform for dialogue and advocating for positive change. 

It also seeks to create an understanding of the trending conflict issues with particular emphasis on agro–pastoralism and land-related conflicts, partisan and traditional political-related conflicts as well as economic-related conflicts and how they serve as fertile grounds for violent extremists infiltration, an understanding of what the current gaps in addressing these trending conflict issues are and an understanding of what needs to be done.

Ghana is facing an imminent risk of violent extremism spillover from the Sahel. The borders with Burkina Faso, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire remain porous. 

Therefore, the risk of violent extremist attacks spilling over from neighbouring countries is high with parts of the country currently experiencing localized communal, chieftaincy, land and intra-religious conflicts.

This has regularly escalated into more intense violent interactions. The possibility of these conflicts potentially being exploited by jihadists is thus very high.

There are already symptoms of increasing radicalisation within Ghana, precipitated by attempts to the recruitment of Ghanaian youth into global terrorist networks such as Daesh and ISIS in Libya and Syria respectively.

In response to these threats the National Catholic Secretariat of Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference with funding support from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is leading an effort, The Sahel Peace Initiative, to raise awareness about this violent conflict and advocate for positive change.

The Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, in his keynote address read on his behalf said, in response to the unprecedented violence meted out to civilians in the Sahel regions by violent extremists, the Sahelian Catholic Church is leading a multi-country effort known as the Sahel Peace Initiative to raise awareness about violent conflicts and advocate for possible action towards an end to this canker.

To this end, the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carried out a multi-level conflict assessment of the ongoing crisis in the Sahel region.

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