General News of Tuesday, 10 October 2017
The Minority in Parliament has asked government to ensure that Ghanaians who have reportedly joined the dreadful terrorist group, Islamic State in Libya, do not return to the country, without strict security clearance.
“Government must put measures in place to ensure that none of these alleged Ghanaian Islamic State fighters are allowed to return to Ghana without strict security clearance and surveillance,” the Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
A report issued by Libya’s Attorney General’s Chief Investigator, Al-Seddiq al-Sour, said Ghanaian migrants feature prominently as members of the terrorist group.
The report placed Ghana in the second highest category suggesting that between 50 to 100 Ghanaian migrants are frontline fighters for IS in Libya.
Addressing the media, Mr. Ablakwa described the report as worrying.
“….Rather worrying for Ghana, we are considered to belong to the second highest category of 50- 100. This has been explained by the Attorney General of Libya’s office to mean between 50 to 100 Ghanaian migrants in Libya, have been identified as active frontline fighters of ISIS in Libya. Ghana appears in this category with seven other countries namely; Senegal, Gambia, Chad, Niger, Eretria, Mali and Somalia.”
He further asked government to ensure that Ghana’s international reputation is not affected following the report.
“While it is obvious to us that many Governments and intelligence agencies across the world would find the content of the Attorney General of Libya’s inquiry very disturbing, we in Ghana ought to be even more concerned due to the revelations made about our dear country…The Ghanaian reputation – internationally acclaimed for being a peace loving people and a people who abhor and detest violence must be jealously guarded by all of us,” he added.
The Minority also gave a nine-point proposal to the government to consider in addressing the issue.
In the proposal, the Minority asked government to provide the needed assurances on the security of Ghanaians.
Below is the nine-point proposal:
1. Government must publicly react to this inquiry by the Libyan Attorney General’s Office due to its grave ramifications to Ghana’s image.
2. Government must provide the needed assurances to Ghanaians and our international security partners that this matter is receiving very high level. attention within a Ghana Libya Counter Terrorism Framework and the global fight against terror.
3. Government must take steps to ascertain to what extent the Ghanaian nationality claims in the report is accurate.
4. Ghana’s national security apparatus must exchange intelligence with their Libyan counterparts on how these Ghanaians if indeed they are Ghanaians are being recruited and radicalized with the view to eliminating all such threats and conduits.
5. Government must put measures in place to ensure that none of these alleged Ghanaian Islamic State fighters are allowed to return to Ghana without strict security clearance and surveillance.
6. Government should consider establishing a generous and enticing reward scheme for families, friends and loved ones who volunteer vital and credible information on any known ISIS ties of their loved ones either living in Libya or being recruited to go to Libya.
7. Government should provide details of all steps it is taking to work with other friendly countries who have previously provided intelligence support to monitor all terrorist recruitment activities and what steps it is taking to deal with the challenge to a joint Parliamentary committee of Defense and Interior and Foreign Affairs so that the people’s representatives can be assured that government is taking all necessary steps to protect the Ghanaian people.
8. Government should explain what steps are being taken to provide public information on how terrorist recruitment is conducted in order that citizens can be aware of how the “signs of radicalization” in our young people should be looked out for.
9. Government should engage religious leaders of both Moslem & Christian groups to get them to reach out to their congregations and develop programmes within their organizations to create awareness of attempts to radicalize young people and to prevent them from falling prey to ISIS propaganda.
KNUST graduate joins ISIS
In 2015, the Daily Guide newspaper reported that a 25-year- old graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Nazir Nortei Alema, had joined the terrorist organization.
Extracts from Nazir’s WhatsApp message, received by Kabir, his brother, read as follows: “Pray for me, for I will never forget you in my prayer and it’s my hope and prayer that we meet again if not in this world then in Jannah (paradise). I love you all. May Allah grant us understanding and guide us all to the straight path. Asalaamu alaikum.”
“I told you a lie to please my Allah. The deception was to go do some research work in faraway Prestea while the main idea was to move far away from you all to the Islamic State (IS). I know it might sound kind of crazy for you but your son really had to take this bold step to get out of the corrupt system of Ghana which has democracy first on its list.”
Nazir’s family confirmed his disappearance, and he has since not returned.
German-Ghanaian who denounced ISIS faces war crimes charges
Harry Sarfo, a German Ghanian, earlier this year, also confessed to having been a fighter for ISIS. The 28-year-old, who is serving a three-year prison term in Germany on terrorism charges, said he had however avoided participating in the group’s violence.