A roundtable discussion between the security services and the media on how best to tackle terrorism in Ghana has taken place in Accra with a call on the media to help combat the act in the country and the sub-region.
The one day forum that brought together participants from the Ghana Armed Forces, Police, Immigration, Customs, Prisons, Ghana Ambulance Service, National Security Council and the media was to give a strategic overview of the menace of global terrorism within West Africa and Ghana in particular as well as preparations been made by Ghana to combat the canker.
Addressing the forum, a retired Police Commissioner, Mr. George Asiamah underscored the important role of the media in counter –terrorism education in the country which cannot be underestimated.
He said we see the media as an important ally in the effort to counter radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
He referred to terrorism as a serious security threat as well as a global menace which requires both national and international measures to combat. The threat posed by terrorist groups has assumed dramatic shifts in its methodology and modus operandi since it has now assumed new and alarming proportions with devastating consequences
Even though Ghana has not experienced any terrorist attack, regional, global trends and recent incidents in neighboring states gives serious cause for concern. These threats and trends have necessitated the need for holistic approach to preventing terrorism acts in Ghana.
He announced that Ghana will be embarking on a security exercise code- named ‘’ Exercise Home Shield’’ with the objective of mimicking real life professional scenarios for an assessment of capabilities of counter terrorism agencies in the country.
Mr. George Asiamah further explained that the ‘’Exercise Home Shield’’ operation is a form of rehearsal to sharpen the capabilities of the security service to respond to terrorist attack and recover from it.
‘’ it seeks to ensure that appropriate command and control arrangements are surely in place where problems and shortcomings are identified and corrected in advance and for different organizations to become accustomed to working effectively together ‘’ he noted.
The retired Police Commissioner, who currently serves as the Director of Counter Terrorism at the Ministry of National Security, assured that they are going to embark on very serious measures of building resilience through the development of intellectual and human capital needs of all actors at the center the fight against terrorism.
‘’We need to build and sustain a community of counter terrorism professionals through multi-disciplinary training and refresher courses periodically to sustain our alertness ‘’ he urged.
On his part, Col. Aggrey Quarshie, the Public Affair Director of the Ghana Armed Forces, called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage of issues relating to terrorism so as not to jeopardize the mission and to not also help the terrorist to succeed
He advised the media not to rely on speculations but to report on accurate facts hence the setting up of the crisismanagement committee to help the media with accurate facts on the ground.
Story: Mohammed Saani Ibrahim