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19.06.2019 Feature Article

The Terror Network Widens

We are living in an age of terror and that is the naked truth. Africa is not noted for that madness but today we have come face to face with the reality that we are not exempted from the menace. When Mohamed Yussif, the leader of the Boko Haram started his hate preaching in Nigeria, Ghanaians felt it was a Nigerian problem so they should handle it. In fact Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso never thought that they could face similar threat because they overlooked the religious zealotry in their respective countries.

As for Somalia, they were noted for their political factionalism and infighting after the overthrow of Said Barre. The Americans moved in to bring sanity to the civil war torn area and failed miserably because the factions and rivalry had taken deep root and Mohamed Farra Aideed had taken a large chunk of the territories and was operating without any hindrance in that poor country and the Bakara market was a battleground of contending dooms. Weapons were openly sold there like the way yam is sold at the Konkoma Yam Market in Accra. The troops of almighty America had to leave with their tail stuck in between their thighs.

Then the Al Shabab emerged with this Jihadist doctrine and the situation turned from bad to worst. When Al Shabab were fooling around in Somalia, we in Ghana closed our eyes to the menace but before we could finish a cup of tea our illustrious son, Professor Kofi Awoonor, an eminent scholar, an internationally acknowledged poet and former Chairman of the Council of State was mowed down by these Al Shabbab terrorists like a common criminal. This act happened in far away Kenya where we least suspected such a terror attack would happen. Some of us used to think terrorism are associated with Muslims with long beards but now it has dawn on us that even women wear suicide vest to commit terrorism. In some cases terrorist tie suicide vest around the waist of children as young as six years and sent them on a suicide mission.

Some years back the Al Sunna and their Al Tijaniya Muslim counterparts slugged it out in Wenchi in the then Brong Ahafo Region, leaving behind deaths and the destruction of properties. That incidence could be termed as dogs bite dogs affairs but what is happening now is worrisome. Those were the revolutionary days and some of the leaderships of that carnage were forced to drink bottles of apatashie to serve as deterrents to others who may try such madness. During the recent Easter festivities, these sick brains attacked Roman Catholic worshipers who were having their holy Mass in Sri Lanka and killed more than 250 innocent worshipers. I wonder what the patriarch Abraham, the father of all the Abrahamic faith is doing in his grave. As for the so-called Islamic State mad dogs, the least said about them, the better. They have killed and continue to kill innocent souls on daily basis; ever since they were driven from the so called Caliphate the world has seen no peace. They have spread their tentacles and continue to cause mayhem. Their dream Caliphate is still illusive. The last time I saw the picture of their leader, Abubakr Al Baghdadi he had grown old. He will surely die like Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and all those terrorist who hold human life in disdain. Throughout history, freedom and fear and justice and cruelty have always been at war, and God, the All-knowing has never been neutral. Freedom and justice is always triumphant.

Today, terrorism is at our doorsteps. Religious zealots capitalize on poverty and ignorance to recruit their converts. The Ansar Deen terrorists were successful in Mali because that land-locked country is poor. Similarly those terrorists who have been striking in Burkina Faso have free range because that country is poor and some people cannot get three square meals a day. When I heard that soldiers and police forces are going to guard churches I laughed because these terrorists do not distinguish between Christians and Muslims. If a terrorist is infatuated with the idea to strike he or she doesn't care of one's religion. They kill their fellow Muslims as well as those they consider to be infidels, what we should do is to be on the lookout for strange faces and suspicious characters at our places of worship. We should not falter, we should not tie and we should not fail in our attempt to keep abbey these crazy fellows.

You see, the goal of these terrorists is not making money. Their goal is remaking the world and imposing their radical beliefs on people everywhere. These terrorists practice fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teaching of Islam. What we should understand is that these terrorists are recruited from their own countries and neighborhood and sent to camps where they are trained in the tactics of terror and thereafter sent back to their respective countries to plot evil and destruction.

Terrorists are traitors who are trying desperately to hijack Islam itself. I had cause to write in this column when Al Qaeda obliterated the World Trade Center that the enemy of the world is not Arabs but our enemies are the radical network of terrorists and in fact, every country that supports them. It is the duty of every Ghanaian to help the security agencies with information so that we can track them, stop them before they struck. The difficulties that we have as a nation, is that our boarders are so porous that you do not need to pass through the approved border posts to enter Ghana. If you to Gonokrom in the Bono Region you can enter Ghana from Ivory Coast through not less than ten unapproved bush paths. The reason is that some Ivoirians farm in Ghana and some Ghanaians too farm in Ivory Coast. Similarly, you don't need to go to Ivory Coast and enter Ghana from Ivory Coast through the approved boarder alone.

The situation is not different in Paga in the Upper West Region. Some boys have their concubines living across the border town to Burkina Faso and some girls too have their boyfriends in Paga. They do not need to pass through the Paga border post. The situation is worst at Aflao where you cannot even define the territorial waters of the two close neighbours. Let us say our prayers before we go to bed.

From Eric Bawah

Eric Bawah
Eric Bawah, © 2019

This author has authored 82 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: EricBawah

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