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Upper East Region: More than 100 migrants get refugee status in Sapelliga


Four years after the people of Kaya in Burkina Faso, migrated to the Bawku West District, Upper East Region, as a result of jihadists’ attacks on them, 100 of them have been registered and given refugee status to stay at Sapelliga.

The migrants including men, children and women who made the journey into Sapelliga are currently given a newly designated settlement by the Sapelliga chief, known as Sapelliga new town or Kadi.

Most of the refugees arrived at Sapelliga in 2019 after terrorist attacks forced them to flee for safety and for the past four years, more people from border communities in Burkina Faso have continued to move into Bawku West to seek refuge.

The most recent batch of refugees arrived on 21 April 2023 and were screened by NADMO and Immigration Service there.

James Agoogo, the Assemblyman for Sapelliga who spoke with the Ghana News Agency, said he was accommodating 81 of the fresh refugees while the old ones were housed at the new settlement that the community helped to build for the 316 refugees.

Agoogo said the refugees were sensitised on their movement, especially on violence and reasons why they had to comport themselves.

Though the new area seemed isolated and far from the main town, without many social amenities, such as a school, a health centre, and electricity, some of the refugees said it was an improvement from the past and were appreciative of the efforts.

Madi Zabre, a refugee, and leader at the settlement who was there with his family, expressed gratitude on behalf of the people to the government and the district for the support given them so far, especially food, clothing, temporal toilet structures and boreholes installed by UNICEF.

Meanwhile the majority of the over 4,000 migrants who made it to the district especially Sapelliga, Binduri, Zoago, Bugri, Zabre, Kansoogo, Widnaba, Googo and Zebilla at the peak of the terrorist attacks, recently moved back to their homes in Burkina Faso.

The district chief executive, Alhaji Isahaku Tahiru, who spoke in an interview with the GNA at Sapelliga, said: “Once their homes were not attacked and vandalized but out of fear they have come here, they could still go back if they feel it is necessary even though some have decided that they will not return because of the precarious situation there “.

“Our challenge and that of the security personnel was the overwhelming movement of the people which made it difficult to control them but the security took control to curtail movements and improve the situation, to ensure they were not allowing the very reason the refugees were leaving their country, to give way for further attacks from the Jihadists.”

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