EDITORIAL: Ghana On Security Alert, We Told You So!
"Our western border is the most vulnerable and we must invest more attention there. If anyone wants to destabilize us, that's where it would come from" - ADM, Friday April 15 2005
It did not come to ADM as a surprise when the Minister of Defence, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor announced on Wednesday that the Armed Forces Council would be meeting to discuss the "prevailing security situation in the country".
Security has been top on ADM's priority for a long time now. Indeed, in its April 13 2005 edition, ADM put out its own "Coup Alert" out when the NDC leader, ex-Flt. Rawlings told Reuters that there would be a "violent reaction to Kufuor's rule". Surprisingly, this assessment was ridiculed by an Accra FM station.
Though the Minister of Defence has not gone as far as to use the word "coup", he has all the same issued the warning that Ghana's security could be undermined by an assortment of enemy actions.
The Minister in his assessment dwelt much on Ghana's western border, which ADM had accurately forecast as one of the likeliest places from which destabilisation against Ghana would be launched.
This is what ADM reported in its Friday April 15 edition when 200 strong, hefty, healthy young men landed in Accra claiming to be refugees from Darfur:
"The fact is that until Ghana's own security and intelligence communities have screened strangers to tell who is a genuine refugee or asylum seeker and who isn't, no chances can be taken to let them loose in the communities.
The Human Rights Watch report monitored on BBC said, 'More than two-thirds of the former combatants from Liberia interviewed said they received offers to fight in Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire.'
When ADM put this revelation to a source interested in Ghana's security, he said they are aware of these young mercenaries 'roaming the sub-regions looking for work'.
When pushed to divulge what Ghana is doing about this menace, he said, 'we should say that our western border is the most vulnerable and we must invest more attention there. If anyone wants to destabilize us, that's where it would come from.'
Human Rights Watch in its report quotes a man who began fighting with the rebel group in Sierra Leone as saying that he was able to kill civilians in Liberia because no one knew him there - 'they weren't my people.' Ghana cannot therefore take chances with her guests from Dafur. They have to be thoroughly screened."
Though Ghana is seen as a haven of peace in the West African sub-region, it is a reputation that should not be taken for granted because real and present dangers exist both inside and outside the country.
These include the Dagbon crisis, which could yet blow up into a major internecine bloodletting, the coup hunger of ex-Flt. Lt. Rawlings could materialise if the man is not properly checkmated and the threat from the veterans of civil wars from other parts of the West African sub-region and elsewhere who may abuse Ghana's hospitality by engaging in subversive activities once they've settled.
The "refugees" from Dafur look suspicious enough to be fully trusted and taken at face value.
Read more in report on Minister Addo-Kufuor's security concern below.