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Opinions of Friday, 18 August 2017

Columnist: Denis Andaban

Burkina Faso Terror Attack: Another period of whining

A number of lives have been lost in recent attacks in Burkina Faso A number of lives have been lost in recent attacks in Burkina Faso

It is with heavy heart putting this piece together having read and saw another tragic incident that engulfed our next door neighbours in Burkina Faso. It was almost incredibly uncontrollable, watching how terrorists attacked and killed 18 or so people on August 14, 2017.

Though this incident is not unexpected to many who have been following terrorism in West Africa, never did I anticipate that terrorists would have another leeway to open fire on innocent people.

Even though, the causes of these terrorist attacks and their modi operandi remains incomprehensible, we could have as a continent by now put in place strategic security infrastructure and intelligence to counter these militant groups emerging across the length and breadth of the African continent.

It is quite obvious that we are always good at whining even when we have an opportunity for the second time to reason beyond the rhetoric. I say this because, anytime there is any such attack in any part of the continent, we hear security analysts and governments discuss a lot about it but as soon as it is over, it is over.

I always give credence to the saying that "the first fool is not a fool but the second fool is a fool" in fact, a big fool. In our case as a continent, our leaders keep on bargaining for fame and political power and giving less priority on proactive and pragmatic security intervention for the safety of the people.

If this is how we would continue to act slowly and talk plenty, small terrorist groups shall continue to kill us like fowls. Yes! Our security intelligence, infrastructure and the political will to ensure security are all weak. The greedy politicians certainly think of their own security and will spend millions of currencies to protect themselves in the expense of the very people that give those politicians authority and power to lead.

The most primary function of every government is to provide security to its people but when government by its actions and inactions rather becomes a security threat against its people, know that such attacks would be common. It is on this premise that I always state without fear though not a doom monger, that Ghana risks such attacks in the future if political vigilante groups are not disbanded.

The activities of party vigilante groups affiliated to government have been terrorising innocent Ghanaians but government because of political expediency continue to protect them. Let me state that too much political expediency is very expensive and detrimental to our democracy because it has the propensity to trigger terrorism and civil war.

When we pamper vigilante groups, dine and wine with them because they are our allies, then we are gradually showing seeds of terror attacks. Rome was not certainly built in a day. We have to learn our lessons from Burkina and Nigeria and stop gambling with our security.

I think that terrorism remains a global phenomenon that Africans especially regional groups must join hands to fight but it does appear conspicuously, that ECOWAS and African Union are doing very little about it. They sleep and only wake up after such attacks only to join the usual whining and the rhetoric cycle continues.
It is high time we realized the value of the saying " the memory of the dead is a warning to the living."

We should be particularly saddened because the chronology of events so far as terrorist attacks are concerned in the sub Region. The August 14th incident isn't the first in the landlock country. Though the security engaged the gunmen and succeeded in saving some lives, I believe that we had the chance after the 2016 attack to combat it with more proactive measures.
A January 2016 attack at a cafe left 30 people dead.

The three attackers in the 2016 massacre were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath along with the armed group known as Al Mourabitoun.
But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, according to most experts. So if the terror threats emanates from our own backyard, don't we have the wherewithal to stop it? Hmmm..........

I think that socioeconomic and political demands should not make us wild dogs that chase one another around every now and then. Our leaders should know that power is a positive authority and not a negative authority that should be used to induce avoidable self inflictions. No!!

I was terrifically flabbergasted when members of the invincible forces publicly threatened the NPP government that it would cause mayhem in the country if government do not meet their demands. For whatever agreement that may exist between them, it should not transcend to the security of this country.

Indeed, we cannot have party vigilante groups that appears to be more powerful than the national security to the extend that they have the audacity to perpetuate unpardonable crimes in gargantuan proportions with impunity. That is sad for us because the existence and the institutionalisation of such militia groups is only the genesis of terrorism. If we have foresight on the ramification of that unpatriotic allegiance to such groups, we would have struck the iron whiles it is hot.

According to Noam Chomsky "Everyone's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's really an easy way: stop participating in it."
Let's stop nurturing terrorism as a country.

We can always whine and forget but when that day ever dawn on us, our whining would expose us to our predators because we would all want to run and hide in silence.

A word to a wise is enough.