Influx of Guineans exposes Ghana to Ebola

ebolaThe daily prayers by for God to avert the deadly Ebola from breaking out in Ghana may come to naught if action is not taken to stop people from Ebola infested countries flocking to illegal mining sites.

There are reports of new arrivals of Guineans to Tinga in the Bole District of Northern Region to engage in illegal mining without any screening for the Ebola.

Attention has been on putting surveillance at Ghana’s borders and airports but less attention is paid to the influx of people from neighbouring countries that had recorded Ebola out breaks.

There are indications that people from countries that had recorded Ebola outbreaks are now moving to the countryside to engage in illegal mining sites on daily basis.

Mr. Moses Banya, a farmer at Tinga, spoke of the arrival of many Guineans to the illegal mining sites in the district, especially Tinga and nearby communities to dig gold illegally.

“Our fear is that because of the Ebola, those arriving from Guinean now can be carriers of the disease,” he said.

“I am worried that Ghanaians are only relying on prayers to God to avert the outbreak of Ebola but God will soon be tired of us because we are not helping ourselves for God to also help us”, ”, Mr. Banya told the Ghana News Agency in a telephone interview in Wa.

He said illegal miners who earlier arrived in the community went back to their country to sell the gold for CFA because of the depreciation of the Ghanaian currency and returned to carry on with their illegal business.

He said the Guineans were arriving in large numbers in the community and some had put up camps at Wasipe and use modern electronic machines such as Global Position System to detect gold.

Mr. Banya said the Guineans were coming through illegal routes and using motorcycles that have no registration numbers.

He said some were operating in the game reserve, endangering the habitant of the animals and silting sources of the Black Volta that flows into the Bui Dam.

Others have also pitched camps deep in the bush and are carrying out gold exploration.

“I am afraid, if there is going to be any Ebola case in Ghana, I can confidently say it will come from Tinga because of the influx of people from countries where Ebola has been detected”, Mr. Banya said.

Mr. Banya appealed health authorities to consider putting stringent measures to screen all illegal miners, especially the Guineans, and also take steps to stop them from invading the illegal mining sites in the district.

When contacted, Mr. James Jaaga, District Chief Executive of Bole, said the District Security Committee since last year had referred106 Guineans who were engaged in illegal mining activities to the regional authorities.

He said 24 Guineans had been arrested this year and referred to the regional authorities for screening and possible prosecution.

Mr. Jaaga appealed to members of Tinga and other communities inform the District Security Committee about the whereabouts of the Guineans so that due process could be used to weed them out of the area.

He said the Guineans were using sophisticated machines to detect gold and their activities in the illegal mining business were dangerous.

Mr Jaaga said a taskforce had been in place with a medical superintendent as its chairman to monitor the arrival of people from neighbouring at Chache entry point.

Mr. Jaaga said new arrivals are handled at the Community based Health and Planning Service (CHPS) Compound at Chache where they are observed for Ebola symptoms.

“My appeal to the community members is to help the District Security Committee to identify the locations of the Guineans and all other foreigners engaged in the illegal mining in the communities,” he said.

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