Ghana, Togo next on list of Islamic extremist targets

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 4/15/16, 01:38 pm

Islamic extremists in West Africa are planning attacks in Ghana and Togo, following similar attacks in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast earlier this year, according to a memo leaked from Ghana’s immigration service.

In the memo dated April 9, the immigration service called for its officers at the northern border with Burkina Faso to be more vigilant and to increase patrols. It said the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) received information about possible attacks from authorities in Ivory Coast who interviewed one of the suspects in the March attack on an Ivory Coast beach resort. The man also warned of a possible terror attack on neighboring Togo.

Intelligence information gathered by the NSCS “indicates a possible terrorist attack on the country is real,” the memo said. “The choice of Ghana, according to the report, is to take away the perception that only Francophone countries are the target.”

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the January attack on a restaurant and hotel in Burkina Faso and more recently, the beach attack in Ivory Coast.

Ghana has one of Africa’s most sturdy economic and political sectors, a factor Ebrahim Deen of the Afro-Middle East Center in South Africa, sees as an advantage for the country.

“Ghana seems to be a growing African economy,” he said. “It seems to be a country that its political system has been able to cope with changes in power, so it’s very unlikely that terror attacks will be carried out in Ghana.”

Deen added that should Ghana suffer an attack, the growing “collective security infrastructure” among African countries, which has helped multinational forces to push back Boko Haram and other terror groups, could prevent a full-blown insurgency in the region.

In a Thursday interview with state radio Sunrise FM, Ghanian President John Mahama called for public vigilance, adding that countries across the region share intelligence on militant threats.

“We must deal with this without creating panic amongst our people” he said, according to Reuters.

Deen agreed, saying militancy continues to pose a threat, but acting out of fear only causes more problems.

“The bigger issue in this is sometimes, the paranoia over one person saying one thing leads governments to take policies that actually cause the problem,” he said. 

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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