NewsWest AfricaGhana: Security chiefs issue terror attack alert


Posted on Thursday, 17 March 2016 13:04

Ghana: Security chiefs issue terror attack alert

By Dasmani Laary

Photo©Christian Thompson/AP/SIPAGhana's top security officials have warned locals and foreign residents to be vigilant and to report any suspicious character to security agencies, as the country faces a "credible terrorist threat" after its neighbours suffered a sequence of deadly attacks.

The warning follow a high powered meeting of security organs on Tuesday to review the security situation in the country following an upsurge in terrorist attacks in the West Africa sub-region – Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire – and intelligence gathering on increased extremist activities in the region.

there is a credible terrorist's threat to all countries in the sub-region

Parliament also met top security chiefs on Monday to discuss the country's preparedness to respond to a possible threat.

The meeting came days after a terrorist group launched an attack on neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire's three hotels in the beach resort city of Grand-Bassam, killing 16 people last Sunday, while in January a similar attack at a hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, claimed 28 lives and injured 56.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has since claimed responsibility for carrying out both attacks that reports say targeted foreign nationals.

Government spokesperson, Omane Kofi Boamah, issued a statement after the meeting with the security heads, advising the public to be "cautious, curious, and report any suspicious activities to law enforcement agencies".

"The national security council, on the basis of briefings by the intelligence agencies and partners, has determined that there is a credible terrorist's threat to all countries in the sub-region," he said.

The statement urged Ghanaians and other nationals resident in the West African country to be patient with security officials, as they tighten security measures at various public locations.

Though Ghana has, since the attacks in the neighbouring countries, been on high security alert, analysts have expressed doubt at the country's preparedness and ability to deal with any threat.

Defence minister, Benjamin Kunbour told local media on Wednesday that studies indicated attackers targeted public places, such as hotels, restaurants and malls, as well as public places that attract foreigners.

"People need to be cautious by not giving out information to strangers, in other places you cannot go asking people to give you information just like that, but in Ghana people can even charter a taxi and take strangers to places or people they are looking for," he said.

Interior minister, Prosper Bani also told the press "deliberate and specific" instructions have been given to hotel and restaurant managers.

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