Ghana Tourist Attraction: The Legacy of the Mole National in Northwestern Ghana

Elephants are common in the park

Elephants are common in the park

The Mole National Park in Ghana over the years has proven to be one of the best wildlife reserve on the African continent dating back as far as pre colonial era in the then Gold Coast now Ghana.

The park is located in the Upper West region of Ghana specifically, on the northwestern on a grassland savanna and riparian ecosystems at an elevation believed to be 150 m, with sharp escarpment forming the southern boundary of the park.

The nearby town to the park is the famous town of Larabanga which also has one of the oldest and wonderful Mosques in Ghana and West Africa in general which can be compared to those in the historical town of Timbuktu in Mali.

Tourists preparing to take a stroll in the park

Tourists preparing themselves to take a stroll in the park with their Land Rover

The park covers an area of 4,840 km2 of undulating terrain with steep scarps and its beautiful vegetation of pristine Guinea savanna with gallery forests along the rivers and streams in the park.

The park’s land was set aside as a wildlife reserve in 1958 by the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah but poachers and encroachers started living around the reserve, making it unable to serve the purpose upon which the land was reserved.

By 1971, the poachers and the encroachers had grown to be a small human population living around the park due to poor enforcement of wildlife laws in Ghana then.

The Larabanga Mosque which is believe to be the oldest Mosque in West Africa not far from the Mole National Park

The Larabanga Mosque which is believe to be the oldest Mosque in West Africa not far from the Mole National Park

But the then government in that same year took pragmatic measures to relocate the population who had grown a little in numbers to a different place and the land was designated as a national park for wildlife reserve for the Republic of Ghana, with wildlife division established in the area to strictly enforce wildlife laws governing wildlife parks in Ghana.

This indeed brought about a new beginning in the history of the Mole national park which today has stood the test of time in terms of the contribution it has given to Ghana and the West African sub-region.

Over the years, the park has become an important study in the area for scientists because of the removal of the human population from within the park allowing for some long-term studies, in particular, of relatively undisturbed sites compared to similar areas of densely populated equatorial West Africa wildlife areas.

It is believed that one of the findings of the studies done on the park has revealed that resident population of about 800 elephants, for example, indicates that elephant damage to large trees varies with species.

A monkey playing with its baby

A monkey playing with its baby

So therefore, it was established that elephants have a greater tendency to seriously injure economically important species of cash trees such as Burkea africana, which is an important tropical hardwood in Africa, and the Butyrospermum paradoxum, the source of shea butter which is also by far, one of the source of livelihood for the people living in northern Ghana.

This study has enable scientists to make a very good generalization in the analysis of wildlife reserve in the West Africa sub-region.

The Beautiful Lovi and the Mole Rivers flows through the park making the centre of the park very fascinating and exciting scene to witness but during the dry season, it leaves behind only drinking holes because of the low rainfall the area receives annually.

The park receives as low as 1000 mm per year of rainfall which indeed is at very low limit considering the nature of the park and the kind of species inhabiting the park but yet still, the park is able to survive this long dry season which normally start from November to May in Ghana.

There is satellite at the Mole National Park to facilitate communications

There is satellite at the Mole National Park to facilitate communications

The park according to statistics, homed about 93 mammal species, and the large mammals of the park include the elephant’s population, hippos, buffalo, hyenas, lions and leopards Zebras and warthogs. But the authorities of the park say it was initially considered a primary African preserve for antelope species including kob, Defassa waterbuck, roan, hartebeest, oribi, the bushbuck, and two duikers, the red duiker and yellow-backed Duiker.

Monkeys too are not left behind among the species in the park and it include Olive baboons, black-and-white colobus monkeys, the green vervet and patas monkeys are the known species of monkeys resident in the park.

As many as 33 species of reptiles including slender-snouted and dwarf crocodile, snake among others are the known reptiles found in the Mole National park.

The park in its wide view

The park in its wide view

A tourist from Romania could not hold what she thought was a magic by how close she came into contact with the elephants, during her visit to the park and she told the NationalTurk tourism team that it was exciting and an adventure for her.

“Quite exciting to have a view of nature at its best in Ghana, I was thrilled by how close we could get to the elephants’’.

For the birds this site gets high marks. It’s absolutely breathtaking to go bird watching in Mole. The kobs, monkeys and wart hogs are present mostly all year round, but still no lions, leopards or hyenas spotted in a while.

Elephants more likely in the dry season but you could get lucky in the rain watching them crossing the dusty roads in the park or sometimes coming to the rest house to relax their huge bodies.

There are local flights from the capital Accra to the northern parts of the country and the few kilometers from the northern regional capital Tamale, can be done in luxury buses to the park.

A motel for visitors is available at the Park headquarters in the town of Mole and parks guards are also available anytime to take visitors and tourists round the park.

The Ghana government is currently leaving no stone unturned in the tourism sector and is calling for tourists from all over the world to patronize Ghana’s tourists attraction sites as the country is force to reckon with in good hospitality in tourism on the African continent.

All in all, Mole national park is a great wonderland of safari and every visitor on tourism mission to Ghana need to see it.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Tourism News

 

 

Obama Africa Tour: Obama begins Africa tour in Senegal

President Obama was warmly welcome to Senegal with some of these creative arts

President Obama was warmly welcome to Senegal with some of these creative arts

The United States of America President, Barack Obama has arrived in Senegal on the first leg of a three-nation tour of Africa which begins this week.

Mr. Obama, who arrived in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, on Wednesday night with his family, was warmly welcome by dignities at the airport including the country’s President, Macky Sall and he is due to meet him later on Thursday to hold bilateral talks.

After Senegal, Mr. Obama will visit the Republic of South Africa and Tanzania as his next destinations but the people of South Africans will be more focused on the worsen condition of their icon, Nelson Mandela who has been in hospital for days as his condition worsen day-in and day-out.

But the White House has said it will defer to the wishes of Mr. Mandela’s family over whether Mr. Mandela is well enough to receive a visit from President Obama in hospital in Pretoria or not.

This is the second visit of President Obama since he became the President of the United States of America as he started his maiden Africa visit from Ghana.

The Washington Post estimates that Mr. Obama’s Africa trip could cost $60 million to $100 million, citing a person familiar with the details who cited previous presidential missions to Africa.

But the post pointed out that more precise estimate is impossible, because details about the president’s security are classified and not revealed.

President Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, Ben Rhodes, told the Post that the security of the president has been planned and schedule to meet any challenge that is likely to occur during his visit.

“The infrastructure that accompanies the president’s travels is beyond our control, the security requirements are not White House-driven, they are Secret Service-driven.”

“Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania- A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency.

“Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet­proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay-Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close’’, Mr. Ben Rhodes disclosed to the Washington Post.

Mr. Obama’s visit is expected to boost economic ties with the African continent and promote good governance and democratic practices.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

Mali Conflict: UN gives the Green Light for the Deployment of Mali Peacekeepers

The United Nations has given the Green Light for the Deployment of Mali Peacekeepers

The United Nations has given the Green Light for the Deployment of Mali Peacekeepers

The United Nations Security Council has agreed in a unanimous decision that a UN peacekeeping force of 12,600 troops should be deployed in Mali from 1 July, to help stabilize the country.

The new UN force which is known as MINUSMA will have the primary duty of providing enough security for nationwide presidential elections to be held on 28 July.

The 15-member Security Council unanimously approved the mandate in April for the 12,600-member force but its deployment had been subject to a council review on Tuesday of Mali’s security situation.

British ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant confirmed the agreement by the UN Security Council for the deployment of the UN peacekeepers to take over from the African-led operation imminently.

“There was unanimous agreement by Security Council members that we should move to the next phase of Mali’s recovery with the deployment of MINUSMA from July 1,” Ambassador Grant.

France began its military offensive in January to drive out militants’ fighters who hijacked a revolt by the Tuareg rebels and seized northern part of Mali and threatened to seize the capital Bamako.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous reportedly told the Security Council that he had concerns about properly equipping the peacekeepers.

“It is important to note that we are still seeking pledges for important outstanding capabilities, including medium utility helicopters, armed helicopters, intelligence, information operations and special forces,” Mr. Ladsous told the Security Council.

Mr. Herve Ladsous also expressed concerns about child soldiers and said Chad would be closely monitored because it has been blacklisted by the UN for using child soldiers.

Countries that have child soldiers are barred from participating in U.N. peacekeeping missions children as soldiers.

“Let me assure you that the United Nations is making every effort to screen the Chadian contingent to ensure that no troops under 18 are among them, as well as provide training on child protection issues,” he added.

But Chad has vowed to cleanse its ranks of child soldiers and the United Nations has given the country four months to take steps to end the recruitment of children.

The French forces have led an operation to oust Islamist militants from the north of the country who took advantage of a coup d’état staged by captain Amadu Sanogo in March 2012, to take control of the north of the country including major cities such as Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu where they imposed a strict form of Islamic laws on the people.

France says it will gradually hand over to the Malian army and a 12,600-strong UN peacekeeping force.

 

France, the former colonial power in Mali says its intends to keep 1,000 troops in the country to work alongside the UN force who will be deployed on 1 July to tackle further militant threats that are likely to imamate from the militants.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

 

 

 

Kenya Attack: 15 Killed in Communal Clashes in Northeastern Kenya

Clashes in northeastern Kenya have left about 15 people dead

Communal Clashes in northeastern Kenya have left about 15 people dead

The Kenya Red Cross and local officials in a remote village in northeastern part of Kenya have confirmed that clashes between two clans in the area have left about 15 people dead and displaced scores others.

The Joroqo village in the Mandera County, which borders Somalia and Ethiopia, saw a series of clashes beginning from Friday until Sunday evening when these casualties were recorded.

The Red Cross says scores of people were also injured in the attack and they have been sent to the Mandera County hospital for treatment of which about 20 of them are in critical condition.

The violence reportedly broke out in a camp for displaced people in the area and then followed by fighting on Friday between two clans which left at least six people dead and nine followed on Sunday.

The Mandera county commissioner Michael Tailel said the security personnel are hunting for the attacker and they are confident that they will bring them to book.

“Those killed were in one of the internally displaced people camps where people displaced in recent attacks have been staying, the attackers fled towards Ethiopia but they are being pursued and we are confident that we will get them’’, the commissioner told reporters.

Local media say Kenya’s Inspector General of police; David Kimaiyo has ordered a heavy deployment of police personnel to the area and has also summoned leaders from Mandera and the nearby Wajir County to record statements on the attacks as he says he suspect that the attacks are politically motivated.

Local residents told reporters that than 20 people are dead although the Kenya Red Cross said on its twitter page that 15 people were killed in the violence.

Community leader, Ibrahim Hussein told reporters that the community will protect those living in the area as it seems like the security forces are not up to the task in the area.

“We will not allow people, particularly women, children, the elderly to be killed in a senseless manner, more than 20 people have lost their lives, hundreds are fleeing their homes, the police and the military are just watching, they are doing nothing, Mr. Ibrahim told reporters.

Residents also added that political classes in the area are using clan militia to push for top positions in the local administration and to settle old scores.

Communities in northern Kenya have long wrangled over the control of highly valuable grazing land and position in local administration.

Residents in the area rely on vigilante groups for security as the area is prone to invaders from Somalia or Ethiopia.

Due to the proximity nature of the area to Somalia, many homesteads also have weapons to deter invaders, while herders often carry guns to protect their animals because there is barely any police presence in the area.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

 

 

 

 

 

Zamfara Attack: Cattle Rustlers Gun Down 48 People in Zamfara State of Nigeria

48 people have been killed by cattle rustlers in a village in Zamfara State in Nigeria

48 people have been killed by cattle rustlers in a village in Zamfara State in Nigeria

Local residents in the village of Nigerian State of Zamfara in the northwestern part of the country have told reporters that, cattle rustlers attack has left 48 people dead in the village.

The attack happened in the village of Kizara which is part of a remote area in Zamfara State in early hours on Wednesday.

Cattle rustlers are armed bandits who seize cattle belonging to other people by force. The practice is common in Nigeria especially in the northern states where cattle rearing is predominant.

Two successive attacks by Boko Haram in 3 days have left about 20 people dead, mostly students, in the northeastern States of Damaturu and Maiduguri respectively.

But this latest attack is not in any way link to Boko Haram but armed bandits operating as cattle rustlers.

The attack is said to be linked to an on-going row involving cattle thieves in the area as local residents said similar attacks happened last year in the area.

Zamfara State government spokesman, Ibrahim Birnin-Magaji told reporters that the attackers arrived before dawn, riding motorbikes and climbed a hill overlooking the village and took position before opening fire indiscriminately on the village.

He said the attackers thereof, carried out house-to-house attacks on local residents accusing the residents of disturbing their peace in the area.

“There was an attack by armed bandits early Wednesday on Kizara village where 48 residents were killed in apparent targeted killings by cattle rustlers that have been terrorizing the state for some time now,” Mr. Magaji said.

“They later moved house to house, telling residents that they were looking for members of local vigilante [groups] whom they said had been disturbing them’’, he further said.

Mr. Magaji also added that prominent among those killed include the local chief, the chief imam and the head of a vigilante group in the village. Virtually all the dead are Muslims.

Nigeria is currently battling an insurgency from Boko Haram militancy as the Nigerian military is pursuing the militants in 3 northern states.

Two successive attacks by Boko Haram in 3 days have left about 20 people dead, mostly students in the northeastern States of Damaturu and Maiduguri respectively.

President Goodluck Jonathan had wanted to grant an amnesty to Boko Haram by setting up a committee to look into the affairs on how a peaceful dialogue can be achieved, but the group refused to lay down their arms compelling the President to resort to military action against them.

Boko Haram is believed to have carried out a wave of bombings and assassinations since 2009, saying it wants to establish an Islamic state across Nigeria.

These latest attacks have left the security of Nigeria especially the northern part very volatile. The Nigerian Federal Government has not commented on the recent series of killings in the country.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

 

 

 

 

Mali Conflict: Malian Government Signs Peace Agreement with Tuareg Rebels

The Malian Government has Signed a Peace Agreement with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad Also known as Tuareg Rebels

The Malian Government has Signed a Peace Agreement with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad Also known as Tuareg Rebels

President Francois Hollande has stated that the Malian government has sign a peace accord with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad MNLA also known as Tuareg Rebels.

The Tuaregs are believed to have been fighting for autonomy in the north since Mali gained independence from France in 1960.

The Tuareg fighters fought alongside French Forces to oust a relative Islamist insurgency which was aimed at destabilize the country through militancy.

President Hollande made the announcement after the G8 summit in Northern Ireland of which he said the agreement will pave way for a nationwide presidential election in July.

The agreement stipulate an immediate ceasefire and for government troops to return to the stronghold of the Tuaregs town of Kidal.

The Tuareg rebels had vowed earlier on that they will not allow the Malian government troops to set foot in their stronghold.

The Malian army then also threatened to seize back the town if no agreement was reached. It advanced towards Kidal in early June, capturing the village of Anefis in the first clashes in months with the Tuareg fighters.

“The Malian government and the Tuaregs negotiators have reached a peace deal after nearly two weeks of talks mediated by Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore in Ouagadougou’’, President Hollande said officially after the G8 summit.

Tuareg spokesman Moussa Attaher told reporters that a deal had been reached and is geared towards peace and stability in Mali.

“The MNLA and the High Council for the Azawad [the rebel name for northern Mali] have given everything for peace and so we accept this accord,” he told reporters.

Mali’s chief negotiator Tiebile Drame on behalf of the government also confirmed the deal on State Television on Tuesday.

“Everyone also agreed to implement the other key element of the consensus, namely the requirement that armed groups in northern Mali give up their weapons’’, Mr. Drame said.

The United Nations is due to deploy a 12,600-strong peacekeeping force before the schedule nationwide elections in the country aimed at stabilizing the nation.

The Tuareg people say they are marginalized by the government because they are light-skinned and have been neglected in terms of development by the government in Bamako.

France plans to gradually hand over to the Malian army and a 12,600-strong UN peacekeeping force, which is due to be deployed next month.

 

France, the former colonial power in Mali says its intends to keep 1,000 troops in the country to work alongside the UN force who will be deployed before the nationwide elections to tackle further militant threats that are likely to imamate from the militants.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

 

Boko Haram Attack: 9 Students Killed in Northeastern City of Maiduguri

Nine Students have been Killed in Northeastern City of Maiduguri

Nine Students have been Killed in Northeastern City of Maiduguri

Medical workers in the northeastern city of Maiduguri have said that nine students have been shot dead by Boko Haram militants on Tuesday in a local school.

The attack happened in the conservative Islamic School of Ansarudeen where the gunmen were believed to have opened fire indiscriminately on the students.

This is the second in such attack in 3 days, as 11 people were left dead in an attack on a local Secondary school by Boko Haram militants in the northeastern town of Damaturu on Sunday.

Seven students, two teachers and two insurgents were killed in the Damaturu attack on Sunday, according to official figure given by the military.

A student who witnessed the attack told Reuters Africa that he was taking exams in a classroom at the Ansarudeen School when gunmen stormed the building, opening fire at random.

“I saw five students sitting the exams killed on the spot, four others were killed as they were entering the school premises,” student confirmed to Reuters.

Local reporters say students are afraid to go to school as they do not know when and how the militants might strike again.

President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the deployment of Some 2,000 soldiers to 3 northern states in May this year, amid declaring state of emergency in those states, when intense attacks by Boko Haram were killing civilians on regular basis.

The military said it has arrested more than 150 Boko Haram militants and have destroyed many of their camps in remote areas of the city.

Dozen others of the group are also believed to have also fled into hiding or across borders to Niger, Chad and Cameroon due to the offensive of the military.

But many still believe they are regrouping to counter attack the military offensive on guerrilla tactics.

These two attacks in 3 days have also raised fears that a month-long offensive by the military has merely pushed militants into hiding, from where they can still launch dangerous attacks on civilians.

But the Nigerian military has maintained that their offensive has enabled them to wrest back control of the remote northeast cities from Boko Haram but these latest attacks put them in grave doubt.

The UN refugee agency said last week that the offensive by the military has forced more than 6,000 refugees – mostly women, children and the elderly to flee to neighboring Niger in recent months.

President Goodluck Jonathan had wanted to grant an amnesty to Boko Haram by setting up a committee to look into the affairs on how a peaceful dialogue can be achieved, but the group refused to lay down their arms compelling the President to resort to military action against them.

Boko Haram is believed to have carried out a wave of bombings and assassinations since 2009, saying it wants to establish an Islamic state across Nigeria.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News