Albert Kan Dapaah- Minister of National Security
The Canadian government has warned its citizens travelling to Ghana to be wary of imminent terror attacks.
“There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist targets could include shopping malls, government buildings, public areas, such as bars, restaurants, hotels and sites frequented by Westerners. Be aware of your surroundings in public places,” a notice posted by the Canadian government stated.
In April 2016, a similar terror alert was raised, this time by the national security apparatus, warning of such terror attacks on the country, but later said enough measures had been put in place to avert any terror attacks.
The Canadian government further warned its citizens to be cautious of criminal and fraudulent activities in Ghana.
“Pick-pocketing, purse snatching and attacks by individuals on motorbikes are increasing in Accra and its surroundings, including areas around the High Commission of Canada. Violent crimes have also increased, including armed robbery. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone or displaying signs of wealth. Home invasions are on the rise. Affluent areas in Accra where foreigners live are targeted and some thieves carry firearms,” the notice indicated.
The High Commission’s website indicated that the notice, which was issued on May 30, 2017, was still valid as at August 3, 2017.
The United Kingdom (UK) has also joined the terror alert list, warning its citizens to be on the look-out.
The advice, which was on its website, indicated that “terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Ghana.”
The UK said possible attacks are likely to occur in places visited by foreigners.
Ghana has seen no terror attack on its soil, though some nationals have confirmed ties with terror group – ISIS.
The UK acknowledged this but says on its website that “while there have been no recent attacks in Ghana, terrorist groups in West Africa have demonstrated their capability and intent by mounting attacks in 2015 and 2016 in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali, targeting beach resorts, hotels, cafes and restaurants visited by foreigners.”
The UK urged its nations to be “vigilant in these locations.”
“While Ghana has no recent history of terrorism, groups associated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State of Libya and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), present a threat to the wider region…“There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attacks 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,” it admonished.
The UK referenced a National Security statement indicating enhanced security measures in response to attacks elsewhere.
It has continued to monitor the threat.
Ghana’s National Security in 2016 declared travelers from Libya, Mali and Niger high risk, following tangible threats of terrorist attacks on the country.
The Ghana Immigration Service last year stated in a leaked memo that Ghana and Togo were the next targets for Islamist militants, following attacks in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, which led to several deaths.
The terror alert even made it compelling following the hosting of two Al-Qaeda suspected terrorists in Ghana.
The memo calls for better border protection in government’s response to the threat to West Africa by militants based in northern Mali, who had stepped up a campaign of violence last year.
The GIS memo said the “National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) has evidence from neighboring Ivory Coast from the interrogation of a man suspected of orchestrating an attack on March 13 in which 18 people were killed.
“Intelligence gathered by the… NSCS indicates a possible terrorist attack on the country is real…The choice of Ghana, according to the report, is to take away the perception that only Francophone countries are the target,” said the memo, dated April 9 2016.
It ordered immigration agents on the northern border with Burkina Faso to be extra vigilant and said patrols should be stepped up along informal routes between the two countries.