Albert Ken Dapaah
The UK government has warned its citizens in Ghana to be wary of the kidnappings and terrorist attacks in the country.
The warning about kidnappings comes on the heels of a recent kidnapping of two Canadian citizens.
Terrorist groups associated with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, which are operating in parts of North Africa and now in the Sahel, are likely to lead the charge on the country.
Groups associated with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State of Libya and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) constitute a thorn in the side of governments in the sub-region, which struggle to secure their porous borders.
Burkina Faso and Mali are currently engaged in fierce battles with the terrorists, resulting in the loss of several lives already.
It is the most comprehensive report issued by a foreign country about the insecurity posed by the terrorists who are active in both Burkina Faso and Mali.
While the report admitted that there have not been any terrorist attacks in Ghana, British citizens have been advised to be vigilant, particularly in northern border areas and in busy public locations, including beach resorts, hotels, cafes, restaurants and places of worship across the country.
The terrorist attacks are launched, they could be indiscriminate, including places visited by foreigners, the report revealed.
Terrorist groups associated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State of Libya and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) pose a threat in the region.
With sophisticated weapons at their disposal, coupled with a daredevil determination to wreak havoc, stopping them in their track is a Herculean enterprise.
Security forces in both Burkina Faso and Mali have suffered many casualties at the hands of these men.
British citizens were warned about the prowess of the terrorists in the report.
It added that “there’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.”
Two suspected terrorists are believed to have been conveyed to Accra from Hamile in the Upper West Region after they were arrested at different times through the vigilance of two residents.
While one of them was arrested when a whistleblower called the police, the other travelled to the country to allegedly buy some alcoholic beverages.
A few months ago, the threat of terrorists in the country was the subject of discussion by security personnel in Accra who stressed the need to retool the military.
The terrorists appear to be opening a new chapter in their nefarious operations, as they target Ghana through kidnappings.
According to the British alert, the terrorists may travel to areas with porous borders with a view to attacking targets and kidnapping foreigners, government officials and civilians for financial gains.
Preferred targets of the terrorists, the report stated, include tourists, humanitarian workers, journalists or business personalities.
National security operatives and the police are on the trail of persons who kidnapped two Canadian ladies in Kumasi last week.
The police have appealed to the media to stop disseminating pictures of the kidnapped ladies, as that is impacting negatively on investigations.
Ghana has porous borders and the ease with which people come into the country from ECOWAS member countries is regarded as a potential danger for our security, especially in these days of terrorist threats.
Terrorists can easily come into the country pretending to be beggars and live especially in the Zongo communities where they can count on the usual hospitality.
It was relieving when the National Chief Imam recently assured the President that he would support him in tackling terrorism.
Many of the beggars in Accra originate from Niger, where Boko Haram has control in certain parts of the country.
President Akufo-Addo has called for vigilance in Ghana where strangers are adored and his call could not have come at a better time.
By A.R. Gomda