01.06.2022 Feature Article

Living With Terrorists Next Door

Living With Terrorists Next Door
01.06.2022 LISTEN

I SINCERELY do not believe in the adage of the Akans which says when you see your neighbour's beards on fire, you should better fetch water and put it by your side in case your own catches fire. That is not right because it is dangerous and suicidal. You don't wait until your beards start burning before you douse it with water. Instead, if you see your neighbour's beards on fire, you should quickly dip your beards in a barrel-full of water. That is precautionary and sensible. Ghanaians are very lucky as far as the constant attack by terrorists in the West Africa sub-region is concerned. But as tohow long we will continue to be lucky is another thing altogether.

My cherished reader, just sit by your globe or West Africa map and come along with me. If you don't have either of the two, travel along with me in your mind's eye. Up there, in the northern part of Ghana is Burkina Faso, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, Jihadists and terrorist attacks. For the past two years, more than eight hundred innocent souls have been lost through terrorists attacks. These include soldiers, women, and children. Barely a week ago, more than a dozen civilians were killed in a village, with more injured. Further north is Mali where the situation is worse. Not even the intervention of France, their colonial masters could curb the menace. At the end of the day, France had to abandon the defence of the poor West Africa state to their fate. The situation has nothing good to write home about in neighbouring Niger.

Look at the western part of Ghana, and you will see Ivory Coast where the terrorists are very active. People have been mowed down like common criminals and the people of Ivory Coast are sitting on tenterhooks. The seriousness of the situation in Ivory Coast is that our land boarders with that country is so porous that, a stranger cannot distinguish between the land border between Ivory Coast and Ghana. Go to Gonokrom, a border village near Dormaa Ahenkro and see. There are more than ten unapproved routs to Ivory Coast and the Ghana Immigration Service officers in Gonokrom are virtually on holidays every day and night at the approved boarder post.

Focus your gaze on the eastern part of Ghana and see Togo, our immediate neighbor. Apart from the similarity of the local languages of the two countries, Ghanaians and Togolese have intermarried and women as well as men cross the porous borders to go and sleep with their partners and return to their bases on daily basis. Recently, terrorists killed eight soldiers and injured many in that country and they are still active there, threatening the peace of the people of Togo. So, as it stands now, our only safe place to run to when terrorists attack our country from all angels is the deep blue sea down south. Don't laugh because the situation is very worrisome.

Who Are The Terrorists?

Terror groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS, Ansar Deen etc., are a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organisations. They are to terror what the Mafia is to crime. Unlike the Mafia, their aim is not making money; their goal is to remake the world and impose their radical beliefs on people everywhere. Terrorists practise a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and in fact, the vast majority of Muslim clerics. This is a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. Their directives command them to kill Christians, Jews and their fellow Muslims who do not follow their violent teachings. Terrorists are traitors to their own faith. They try to hijack Islam itself. At the moment of their madness, they don't make any distinction among military and civilians, including women and children. We have thousands of these sick brains in different countries, including Ghana. They are normally recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to training camps elsewhere, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are later sent back to their homes to plot evil and destruction. Remember when the Syrian war broke out, a Muslim student from the KNUST was recruited and sent to fight in that country. That tells you why I say we have some of them in Ghana.

Terrorists hate freedom. They hate democratically elected governments. They hate freedom of religion and freedom of speech and of course freedom to vote, assemble, agree and disagree with each other. Their leaders are self-appointed. Because they lack the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction, they use suicide bombing as their main weapon to terrorise the people. They kill not to merely end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. They are simply inhuman and evil.

Here in Ghana, the most fertile place for them to stay and operate are our Zongos where majority of Muslims dwell. They enter as strangers who want a place to lay their heads. Because Muslims are well known for their love for their fellow believers, these guys are given a place to lay their heads and fed.

The Ghanaian hospitality is brought to bear as the strangers are entertained to the fullest. They follow their host to worship in the mosques and in no time, they get the opportunity to preach at the mosques and start teaching children the Quranic verses at the Islamic schools. That is where the indoctrination starts. One can be easily deceived by their pretences to piety. The fringe aspect and hate speeches of Islam are introduced to the children and before one can say Jack Robin, the idea of suicide bombing is also introduced. They will tell would-be suicide bombers that if they kill unbelievers or infidels and they too die, they will be assured of seventy two virgins to marry in heaven and seventy two of their family members will get salvation among other goodies in heaven. Those of us who do not believe in these silly teachings can only giggle when we hear them but to the terrorists, it is a serious business. As experts in the making of suicide bomb vests, they will begin preparing the devices and the bombing will start. Are we going to wait for such things to happen? Over to you Imams and my brothers and sisters at the Zongos. The watchword is vigilance because prevention is better than cure. Cigar? Not today when terrorists are lurking somewhere and ready to strike. Who knows? It may be in the church, the mosque, the bus you ride, the football park or even Parliament House with Right Honorable Alban Bagbin sitting in the chair!

BY Eric Bawah