Ghana not prepared for terrorism - Security expert (September 26. 2023( pg 29

A security analyst, Emmanuel Sowatey, has raised red flags about Ghana’s preparedness to adequately address challenges that comes with terrorism in case terrorists strike in the country.
 
“We are not prepared for that now. When you go to some shopping malls, for instance, you’ll see emergency exits but most of the time, it is  locked. The key is with somebody,” he said.

Mr Sowatey who was reacting to events unfolding in Kenya where Al-Shabab militants reportedly stormed the Westgate Mall Nairobi, killed 69 people and injured more than 170 others.

Among the casualties in the shoot-out in Kenya were renowned poet and former Chairman of the Council of State, Prof. Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor, who died in the attack and his son, Afetsi Awoonor, who sustained injuries.

Foreign policy

With terror organisations including Nigeria’s Boko Haram getting bolder by the day, he said it was time the government relooked at the country’s internal security since a country’s foreign policy had bearing on its internal security.

In claiming responsibility for the attack, Al-Shabab says it was retribution for the presence of Kenyan forces in Somalia in support of the government it was fighting to establish an Islamic state.

That, Mr Sowatey said, should influence Ghana’s domestic security since the country was contributing to peacekeeping efforts across the world.

Currently, Ghanaian security forces are in countries including  Cote d’voire, Liberia and Lebanon.

“Once you are sending troops, you’ll have to have an intense change in national security structure because if the president makes certain commitment and comments at the United Nations,  the African Union and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), and makes pronouncements against certain terrorist groups, there are likely implications.”

There are certain pronouncements you make as a government that would have rippling effect on internal security,” he added.

He said the way forward and the good news was that the country had not been attacked so it was positioned to learn from other countries.

He said it was crucial that  the country’s foreign missions played a crucial role in gathering information about the various terror groups activities and tactics across the continents.

“If we do that, our governments could then put this terror groups on their radar and check the backgrounds of people coming into the region, and find out the extremists coming, what kind of countries are they going, “ he added.

Terrorism in Africa
Africa is gradually becoming a hotbed for terror groups advancing political and religious interests. From East to West Africa, a rise in Islamic radicalism has led to a surge in deadly attacks and kidnappings by groups linked to al-Qaeda.

The three main al-Qaeda-linked groups are al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which is full of life across the Sahel; Somalia’s Shabaab in the Horn of Africa; and  Boko Haram, which has sharply increased its attacks in Nigeria since 2010.

However, another Islamist terrorist group operating in Nigeria is Ansaru. Unlike Boko Haram whose main  goal is to replace President Goodluck Jonathan`s regime with a pure Islamic State and to expel Christian communities from northern Nigeria, Ansaru targets are mainly westerners and western interests.

Ansaru   was created in early 2012 and its main goal is ‘to reclaim the lost dignity of Muslims of Black Africa’ and create an Islamic caliphate from Niger to Cameroon and northern Nigeria.
The most affected  countries on the continent — Mali, Nigeria and Somalia — have common characteristics — ethnic or religious divisions and extreme poverty.

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