Ghanaians are seething with rage over the decision to allow two Al Qaeda suspected terrorists to be hosted in the country for at least the next two years.
The Mahama administration, to the shock of Ghanaians, has rolled out red carpet for the terrorists who were previously being held at Guantanamo Prisons in the United States.
Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby are being offered humanitarian assistance in Ghana under a deal signed by the Mahama administration and US authorities.
“Bin Atef is an admitted member of the Taliban and fought for Osama bin Laden, while Al-Dhuby trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan,” US-based Fox News reported Wednesday. According to a statement from Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the assistance being offered the ex-inmates is at the request of the US government.
“At the request of the US Government, we have also agreed to accept two detainees of Yemeni origin who were detained in Guantanamo but who have been cleared of any involvement in any terrorist activities and are being released,” the statement signed by the Minister, Hannah Tetteh, said.
However, Ghanaians are not happy with the decision to house the suspected terrorists in the country since in their opinion the two men could have been returned to their home country of Yemen.
Their fear is that the suspects’ presence in Ghana could make the country a target of an attack, especially with rising suspicion of Ghanaian youth joining insurgent Islamist groups like Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Prof H. Kwasi Prempeh, a US-based Ghanaian law professor, in his Facebook post said:
“It is 2008. You wake up one morning to learn that the Kufuor government, following a secret agreement with the US Government, has accepted into the country certain released Guantanamo detainees. What do you think the opposition parties, notably NDC and its agents, would say and do in reaction?
“Just imagine it. No better way to illustrate the meanings of the terms hypocrisy, opportunism, dishonesty and unprincipled.
“Who knows, this may be their way of placating the Americans and saving the MCC Compact after their crony AMERI deal left GE disappointed and the Americans predictably peeved. “Compromising our national interest with this Guantanamo bargain is a small price to pay to mend fences with the Americans and save MCC after AMERI.
“That’s the only plausible interpretation I could come up with for this bizarre development.”
Prof Prempeh is not the only Ghanaian livid with this decision.
Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso of Legon Centre of International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) and a security analyst, Emmanuel Sowatey, could not understand the reason for accepting the terrorists in Accra, making the country very vulnerable.
They wonder the prize Ghana is receiving for accepting the Guantanamo detainees.
A political pressure group, STUNNAD, in a statement said: “Gradually Ghana is carelessly receiving attention on almost everything called ‘evil.’ If President Mahama and Hannah Tetteh think it is safe for Ghana to accommodate these suspected criminals who, according to the US media, have admitted working with the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda Bin Laden, then I think it will be safe for President Mahama and Ms Hannah Tetteh to house them in their homes.”
The statement, signed by Chris Arthur, added: “It’s a fact, according to report, Atef is an admitted member of the Taliban and fought for Usama bin Laden, while Al-Dhuby trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. So how on earth should Ghana come into terms of accepting them into the country when terrorism has become a global concern?
“We are told the suspects are already in Ghana and that is the most careless decision made by President Mahama and his government and we urge all well-meaning Ghanaians to rise and chase these suspects out of the country.”
However government believes that the suspected terrorists would cause no harm in Ghana, according to deputy Communications Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu.
“We are confident that the number of arrangements we have put in place, we will be able to handle the situation.”
United States government, he noted, will bear the cost of the upkeep of the two Guantanamo detainees.
“We are [only] helping the United States,” he said.
The US in a statement, expressed its gratitude to Ghana for accepting to house the terrorists.
“The US is grateful to the Government of Ghana for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Ghana to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”
A DAILY GUIDE Report