Ghana has denied any involvement in last Friday’s armed skirmishes at a border town in Cote d’Ivoire.
The National Security Coordinator, Lt Col Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, told the graphic.com.gh that the incident at the border town of Noe in Cote d’Ivoire “was purely an internal Ivorian matter and Ghana has no hand in it”.
He has, accordingly, challenged the Ivorian authorities to show “proof of Ghana’s involvement in the matter”.
He reiterated the government’s resolve not to allow anybody or group of persons to use any part of Ghana’s territory to destabilise any country, especially Cote d’Ivoire, and denied media reports that the incident happened at the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border.
Last Friday, Cote d’Ivoire closed its border with Ghana after an attack on an Army checkpoint in that country, an incident which the Ivorian Defence Minister, Paul Koffi Koffi, claimed was carried out by "armed elements from Ghana".
“His assertion is a hasty judgemental statement which is without any evidential support,” Lt Col Gbevlo-Lartey said, and stated, “We in Ghana want the Ivorian Defence Minister to give us proof that Ghana has a hand in what is purely an internal matter in Cote d’Ivoire.”
President John Dramani Mahama stated during a recent visit to Abidjan that Ghana would not become a base for those trying to destabilise Cote d’Ivoire, a call Mr Koffi welcomed and described as an example of "frank co-operation" between officials in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
Lt Col Gbevlo-Lartey said Ghana was not interested in the internal affairs of any country, for that matter Cote d’Ivoire, and assured Ghana’s neighbours of its commitment to the peace and stability of the sub-region.
He explained that as a decent member of the international community and trailblazer of African unity and social economic advancement, Ghana would strictly abide by all international laws and protocols that enjoined countries to respect the sovereignty of other nations.
He urged Ghanaians to remain calm while the situation was closely monitored.
Cote d’Ivoire is recovering from months of political unrest after disputed elections in November 2010. An estimated 3,000 people died in the fighting that followed the disputed polls.
Then President Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to then candidate Ouattara, who eventually ousted his rival with the help of former rebel forces, the UN and Cote d’Ivoire’s former colonial power, France.
Mr Gbagbo is currently in The Hague, awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, both the entry and exit points at the Elubo and Ivorian side of the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire Border remain closed.
Many vehicles and people trying to cross over to the other end remain stranded.
At the moment, 200 Ghanaians living in Cote d’Ivoire have returned home using canoes to cross the Tano River.
Some of the stranded travellers told graphic.com.gh that they had set off from Nigeria, Mali, Benin and Togo for business in Cote d’Ivoire and were held up due to the closure of the border, adding that they did not know about the closure or any armed attack.
Security sources at the border stressed the need for an increase in border patrols to help deal with the threat of using unapproved routes linking the two countries.
That, they said, would ensure that armed groups operating in Cote d’Ivoire did not cross into Ghana.