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Terrorists target Ghana …churches, mosques, entertainment events now danger zones

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Ghana’s security services have been jolted into an all time red alert over possible attacks from violent extremist groups and individuals engaged in acts of terrorism within the West African sub-region, National Security Minister Kan Dapaah noted in a press statement dated yesterday Tuesday May 17, 2022.

The statement warned that churches, mosques, entertainment venues and places where people gather are possible targets for attacks and therefore urged all persons within Ghana’s territories are “to be vigilant and extra careful about their personal and community security.”

“This appeal is being made because there is good reason to believe that the terrorists operating within the region have Ghana as a target and there is need to increase security measures and engage the public to be more careful.

“We urge the managers of public places and gatherings to be extra vigilant. We want to reassure the public that the security agencies and all those charged with maintaining the security of the state are working hard to ensure the safety of our country and its people and we count on your continuing support in this endeavour.”

The statement was specific in which areas could be attacked by the terrorists: “the Ministry is making a strong appeal for heightened vigilance in areas of mass gatherings, especially at public places of entertainment and worship, such as churches and mosques.

“The employment of guards, security gadgetry and lighting of the areas surrounding the areas of public gatherings would all help, but nothing beats the vigilance of each of us individuals, taking personal responsibility and looking out for each other”, it added.

Mr. Dapaah, in the statement, expressed regret that many of Ghana’s neighbours have unfortunately suffered attacks from the terrorist groups as their activities have spread from the Sahelian region towards the coastal West-African States.

“Our immediate neighbours, Burkina Faso, la Côte d’Ivoire and Togo have all experienced such attacks
and we have to recognise that our country remains a target as the security services work to keep us all safe’, it noted.

On the same subject matter, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on March 9, this year, said although it is terrifying that violent extremism is escalating in West Africa’s coastal states, the situation is just the tip of the insurgency iceberg.

ISS said “under the surface lies a covert network that ensures terrorism continues in the region. Evidence is emerging that jihadists’ activities within and through coastal states are enabling them to fund, staff and run the logistics they need to thrive.

“Governments’ responses to the attacks have mainly been military in nature. Before such operations are increased, and the French and European Barkhane and Takuba forces are redeployed south, coastal states need a better analysis of the terrorism spillover. They should look beyond the spread of attacks and understand the covert activities, including how violent extremists work with illicit actors to mobilise resources.”

It said there are “indications that gold buyers from Togo and Benin are accessing some gold mining sites controlled by violent extremists in the Sahel. Explosive materials used at sites in some coastal states may be going up north to terror groups. In 2018, electric cord seized by Burkinabe officials during a counter-terrorism operation in Ouagadougou was traced to a mining site in northern Ghana.”

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