Terrorists can disguise themselves as pastors, Islamic clerics or CSO activists in Ghana – Nat’l Security

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Deputy National Security Coordinator, Mr Edward Kweku Asomani has said the nature of terrorism lately, requires extra vigilance on the part of all Ghanaians in order to prevent it from happening in the country.

He explained that the terrorists are adopting cunning and smart ways to carry out their attacks, ways that do not make their true identities immediately known.

They come in the form of religious leaders or Civil Society activists, he said.

Addressing a press conference on the measures that have been put in place to prevent the attack’s from happening in the country, on Sunday May 22, he said “We are not insulated from those attacks therefore, we think Ghanaians should be aware. Why are we involving Ghanaians? The nature of the threats is such that it is not conventional warfare, they don’t come in with the APCs and fighter jets. They come in all forms, it could be your pastor in the church, cleric in the mosque, individuals coming in as CSOs purporting to do community work.

“That means that we all have to be vigilant. Also we know that the terrorists want access to the sea, the nature of the various attacks we have all seen in the subregion indicates that wherever they go there is some form of mineral or natural resource there particularly gold.

“So the question therefore is, if they attack cities and towns in Burkina Faso that has gold deposits, clearly, Ghana will be an interest.”

We are clearly therefore a target that is why we are here today to seek the support of Ghanaians.”

For his part, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said intelligence reports suggest that some Ghanaians have been involved in terrorist attacks in the Sahelian region.

What this signals is that there has been the possible recruitment of Ghanaians by some of these terrorist groups in the West African sub region, he said.

During the same press conference the Ofoase Ayrebi lawmaker said “Government is announcing that it has put its security and intelligence agencies on increased awareness following the increasing number of terror threats and terror attacks and some worrisome intelligence reports that are closer to our borders.

“You would have observed, by now, that the West Africa region is in recent weeks inundated with attacks by extremist elements, some of which have occurred as closed as 50kilometers to Ghana’s northern frontiers.

“As recently as the 11th of May 2022 in Togo, about 10 military persons died as a result of one such terror attack. Increasingly, intelligence reports suggest that some Ghanaians have been involved in terrorist’s attacks in the Sahelian region. What this signals is that there has been the possible recruitment of Ghanaians by some of these terrorist groups in the West African sub region.

“The Ministry of National Security has authroiused am increased level of awareness among the intelligence community and seeks to deepen engagement with the Ghanaian public in line with contemporary security practice.”

Following the activities of terrorist groups in neighbouring West African countries, Ghana’s National Security has cautioned churches against possible similar attacks.

The National Security said measures have been instituted in order to forestall these attacks however, the churches must also be on alert.

The measures instituted include installation of Closed-Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) in churches, as well as engaging the services of accredited private security agencies.

“In view of the growing threats of terrorism from the subregion and the expansionist drive of terrorist groups towards Coastal West African states, with a renewed modus operandi of targeting public gatherings including places of worship, it is imperative that precautional measures are taken by all stakeholders,” a statement issued on Friday May 13 said.

It is recalled that a report released by the West Africa Centre for Counter Extremism (WACCE) released recently said Ghana has managed so far to stay safe from terrorist attacks on home soil, yet the country has been so close to terrorism.

Already, the report said, more than 13 Ghanaians are believed to have travelled to fight with terrorist groups since 2015. Up to twenty three (23) others have been dissuaded from leaving to join extremist groups.

“Ghana’s first recorded case was Nazir Alema Nortey3 , a young university graduate, who shockingly left the country in august 2015 to join ISIS before sending a message back to his parents to announce his new found cause.

“He was killed in Syria by April 2016. Professor Kofi Awoonor, a renowned Ghanaian poet and academic, was killed in the West Gate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya when Al Shabab fighters besieged the mall in 2013,” the report said.

The threat has been menacingly and quickly spread, occurring through a spill over phenomenon, has ravaged the Northern borders of not only Burkina Faso but also of Ivory Coast, Benin and Togo recently. With all its direct neighbors under attacks, Ghana has descending from the Sahel towards Coastal States in the last five years.

“Even though the fatality numbers are presently down from the peak of over 7,200 in the region in 2014, the threat has increased in complexity and geographical spread. Today 53% of all ECOWAS now been encircled by the threat. These developments are dangerous for Ghana.

“Ghana’s proximity to these countries (Burkina Faso to the North, Benin and Togo to the East and Ivory Coast to the West) exposes the country to extremist recruitment or attacks or both,” it added.

It further stated that the “unending Bawku chieftaincy conflict, the ethnic tensions in Northern Ghana and the unresolved challenge of Western Togoland separatists in the Eastern border regions amplify the risks.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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