Ghana on High Alert After Ivory Coast Terror Attack

18th March 2016

Ghana’s government has put the nation on high alert in the wake of Sunday’s deadly terror attack in neighboring Ivory Coast.

Ghana’s national security chiefs say they have intelligence of a credible terrorist threat in the country.

They made the announcement Wednesday following a meeting with Ghana’s President John Mahama to review their readiness. In a statement, the government called on Ghanaians to pay attention and report anything unusual to security agencies.

The terror alert is a first for the West African country.

West African capitals targeted

Since November, al-Qaida militants have attacked hotels in two other regional capitals, Bamako and Ouagadougou, and a beach resort outside Abidjan.

Heavily armed gunmen opened fire Sunday at a popular Ivory Coast beach resort in Grand-Bassam, March 13, 2016. There was no official report on casualties, but witnesses told VOA they saw between five and 10 shooting victims.

Despite the government assurances, many here wonder: Is Ghana next and how prepared are we?

“We have very porous borders and they are not properly policed, there are a lot of unapproved routes. I think that we should have been proactive. But this is the disconnect I worry about,” said one woman.

A man says he has not heard about the alert. “It’s serious but it doesn’t worry me until it happens,” he added.

“We should look at our movements,” says a woman. “If you have nothing to do in certain areas, don’t go there. If you’re a terrorist and you hear that Ghanaians are really aware, they are preparing to combat anybody who comes into their land, then obviously you also want to hold back a bit.”

The United Kingdom has advised its citizens in Ghana to be cautious. And on Wednesday, the U.S. military restricted travel by its service members to Ghana and four other West African countries.

By Naa Adjeley Tsofanye