Security analyst says terrorist attack on Ghana possible

A security analyst, Mr Ibrahim Sule, has said there is the possibility of a terrorist attack on Ghana.

This follows a series of kidnapping incidents in the country and the United Kingdom’s (UK) recent issuance of a security alert to its nationals travelling to, and living in Ghana.

The UK government’s travel advice to its citizens asked Britons to be extra careful because terrorists were likely to try to carry out attacks in Ghana.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners,” the advice said.

It explained further: “Terrorist groups associated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State of Libya and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) present a threat in the region”, adding: “These groups have demonstrated capability and intent by mounting attacks against security forces and civilians in several countries, most recently in Burkina Faso and Mali”.

“While there have been no recent attacks in Ghana, you should remain vigilant, particularly in northern border areas and in busy public locations (including beach resorts, hotels, cafes, restaurants and places of worship) across the country.

“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.”

The British High Commission further noted that while most visits to Ghana are trouble-free, crime does occur.

It said in recent years, reported crime has increased, particularly over the Christmas period with criminal activity ranging from petty street crime to violent crime which can occur at any time.

The High Commission has, therefore, warned travellers to take sensible precautions, be particularly vigilant in public areas, and take care when travelling by road.

It added that localised outbreaks of civil unrest can occur at short notice, and can become violent, sometimes involving weapons and, so, Brits who find themselves in such areas, should remain vigilant, exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities.

The High Commission also advised its nationals who are resident in Ghana to register with the National Identification Authority (NIA) and get a non-citizen Ghana card.

Speaking on Accra100.5FM’s mid-day news on Friday, 20 December 2019, Mr Sule noted that the issue of terrorist attacks is a concern in the West African sub-region, especially as countries like Burkina Faso and Mali have been attacked in recent times. 

According to the security expert, the UK’s alert is appropriate since the festive season comes with a lot of activities which draw huge crowds.

He said: “It is getting to Christmas; it is the Year of Return and we are approaching an election-year; hence it is their right to caution their citizens”.

The security analyst also indicated that the UK government’s caution to its nationals travelling to and living in Ghana is typical of foreign missions.

“It is normal with foreign missions and international relations” to ensure the safety of their nationals.

He further noted that preventing possible terrorist attacks is a collective responsibility and called on the Ghana Immigration Service to insist on valid documentation at the country’s borders and urged the general public to report suspicious persons to the police.

“It is a collective responsibility: the government, general public, security personnel must all come on board to ensure safe security.”