Ghana is not immune to terrorist attacks, despite the growing peace and democracy in the country, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.
In light of the possible occurrence of a terror attack in Ghana, the President said the country is determined to foster religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence between Ghanaians.
“Despite it being a beacon of peace, stability and democracy in a region that is plagued by the activities of terrorist and extremist groups, Ghana must know she cannot be immune to terrorist attacks.”
“She is determined however to deepen the religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence that exists between majority Christian and the minority Muslim religious groups in the country. They are hallmarks of our nation which we cherish.”
Ghana’s major encounter with terrorism
Speaking at the Kofi Annan Peace and Security forum held in Accra today [Wednesday], the President also recalled instances when the country had come into contact with the activities of terrorist groups.
“Our major encounter with the terrorist group came in 2015 when agents of the so-called Islamic State, succeeded in recruiting a few adherents from the country’s university campuses to join the ranks and the groups’ fightings in Libya and Syria. They are known to have died in conduct. Two Germans of Ghanaian parentage are also known to have joined the group with one currently serving a jail term in Hamburg, Germany.”
The President also highlighted the activities of terrorist groups in Ghana, saying they usually “take the form of fundraising activities by alleged charitable organizations which divert these funds to support extremist activities around the world.”
Citing examples to support his claim, he indicated that last year security agencies in Ghana had to disrupt the activities of groups purporting to raise funds for Rohingyan Muslims in Ghana which was later discovered to be funding for terror-related activities.
In aid of the global call to action against terrorism and violent extremism, Ghana has signed and ratified a number of international instruments aimed at the prevention and suppression of terrorism.
The President’s comments on terrorism may not be far fetched, given the increased threat of terror attacks on churches in the sub-region.
Four persons were killed in an attack on a Catholic church in northern Burkina Faso late in May.
That was the latest in a string of assaults on Christian places of worship in Ghana’s neighbour to the north.
Burkina Faso has seen more than 230 terror attacks in a little over three years.
There are concerns that the insecurity in Burkina Faso has provided a launching pad for attacks in Ghana.
The terror fears have led the police to even suggest the banning of bags from churches.
Police in the Central Region called on the clergy to consider banning the use of bags in churches to reduce the risk of an attack.
Observers have also urged churches to improve security in churches and worship centres over possible terrorist attacks while security agencies in the country have met the leadership of the Christian community to discuss how to enhance security at the various churches in the wake of the concerns.
The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery recently assured that Ghana is on high alert for terrorist attacks.
“It is increasingly clear that the greatest threat we have in this sub-region is terrorism although it has not even hit Ghana yet. Terrorism is, therefore, top security concern of the President of the Republic of Ghana and indeed all of us,” he said.