The debate is ongoing, and would likely go on for a while– although expecting anyone in government to care about what any of us says would be just naively optimistic.
Ghanaians were informed last week that we had become party to the relocation of former inmates of the US’ terrorist holding cell in Guantanamo in Cuba. The news has since led to public outcry over what deal our government has struck for us, especially considering the terrorist bona fides of our new guests.
The Christian Council of Ghana are the latest to wade into this debate, calling on government to take the concerns of citizens into consideration and do the right thing by relocating the inmates from the country.
In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, the council lamented the lack of transparency surrounding the deal, and raises questions about the entire process.
The council also adds they believe there is enough evidence to suggest the inmates puts Ghanaians at risk of terrorism.
Read the full statement below…
RELOCATE GUANTANAMO INMATES
The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has observed with grave concern the lamentations and fears being expressed by most Ghanaians since news broke about the relocation of two Guantanamo Bay inmates with Al Qaeda ties to Ghana.
As a Council, we associate with the uncertainties and fears this issue has generated among our people, and requests that government should consider immediate recession of the decision and relocate the inmates outside the country.
The non-engagement of civil society and other stakeholders on such sensitive security issue that affects the common good of the nation has put all of us at risk as the ordinary people don’t know what is required of them in the current potential security threat. Infact the whole process lacks transparency.
It will be recalled that, in 2007, the United States (US) government wanted to establish its African Command (AFRICOM) in Ghana and most Ghanaians and African countries kicked against it.
The admission of the Guantanamo inmates into Ghana is no different from setting up an AFRICOM in Ghana.
We are of the strongest view that, the inadequate public consultation and broader consensus building by government is exposing our nation and the entire sub-region to terrorist attack, and must be reversed.
According to FoxNews, one of the two prisoners brought from Guantanamo Bay to Ghana, in the person of Bin Atef “is an admitted member of the Taliban and fought for Usama bin Laden, while [the other] Al-Dhuby trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.”
The website adds; “the two inmates [who have spent close to 14 years in prison] are the first of a group of 17 detainees expected to be transferred out of Guantanamo Bay that includes “multiple bad guys” and “Al Qaeda followers.”
There are enough evidences for us to believe that these inmates have Al Qaeda ties and put all of us at risk.
Government must answer the following questions and give further information about the whole thing;
1 Who is funding their stay in Ghana?
2 Will their families be allowed to visit them in Ghana?
3 Are they going to have any public interactions?
4 Are they going to be camped, restricted or reintegrated into the society as refugees?
5 Have Ghanaians been properly educated on public safety and security consciousness in the wake of terrorism?
6 Do we have what it takes to detect and deal with any threat of terrorism?
We are very much aware that Ghana belongs to a community of nations which requires her to support international humanitarian efforts such as the provision of assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.
However, the case of the Guantanamo inmates is entirely different and is not in our national interest.
It is our hope and prayer that the President will listen to the lamentations of Ghanaians and quickly relocate the inmates.
Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong