A number of Ghanaian nationals have offered themselves to train and be recruited into terror groups in the West African sub-region including the dreaded Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria.
According to Islamic political analyst, Irbard Ibrahim, these “religiously zealous” individuals appear prepared to commit violent acts in support of the ideology of the terrorist groups although they may not necessarily require material assistance from those militant groups to carry out attacks.
The International Relations and Security Expert made the revelation on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday, December 10, 2014 while discussing Ghana’s preparedness to deal with issues relating to internal security as well as terrorism.
He described the recruits as “lone wolves” who are ready to respond to recruitment drives of the terrorist groups, whom he said are looking for “anybody that can beat security checks and detonate where they would want to detonate”.
However, the Ghanaian security agencies have their eyes fixed on the activities and movements of such persons, Irbard assured.
“Our security services have been able to nab a few people who have actually acted as lone wolves who have travelled to north-east of Nigeria to train [with Boko Haram]…But our security systems have got tabs on them and they are monitoring their movements and all that.”
He observed that human rights abuses on the part of security personnel, meted out to some individuals who belong to “fringe groups”, mostly provide the impetus for terrorism. He said such individuals require two key factors- funding and motivation- to “stand up against the status quo.”
“There is nothing that makes people rally round terrorism than infringement on human rights…heavy-handedness always evolves the needed invocation of terrorist activities.”
Contributing to the discussion via the telephone, the Head of Research at the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Centre, Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning says Ghana could become a ‘useful target’ for terror groups purely for propaganda purposes on account of the country’s taking a strong position against their activities in the sub-region and on the continent as whole.
Dr Aning is convinced the security systems are high on the alert and have the capacity to respond and counter potential attacks.
But the security analyst cautioned against any slip on the part of the security agencies that will see the groups gain an upper hand and launch attacks.
“For our own reputational purposes and for the international counter-terrorism strategies to be able to be effective, particularly on this continent and West Africa, Ghana must under no circumstances experience a terrorist attack in which our responses are then perceived by our partners to be ineffective.
He advised that: “It’s of crucial importance that as part of the preventive measures, that our investigative, prosecutorial and adjudication units related to terrorism cases or potential incidents are strengthened [and] funded to ensure we send a clear signal to our partners…that we are prepared and we have the capability to respond.”
These he said should be achieved through enhanced collaboration with the country’s neighbours through information sharing on terrorist activities.
“We need better international collaboration with our neighbours and better exchange of information predicated on trust and a certain level of secrecy,” he stressed.