…As Sakawa, pick-pocketing, armed robbery, stealing, police extortions increase in Ghana
The Canadian government has issued an alert to the North American country’s citizens traveling to Ghana, warning that a possible terror attack in malls and hotels is just a small part of a worsening minefield of hazards.
According to the alert by the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, the perilous booby traps include armed robbery, cyber fraud, pick pocketing, stealing and extortion by the Police.
According to it, the bad rap is worsening as President Akufo-Addo presides over unprecedented climate of insecurity in the country.
“Pick-pocketing, purse snatching and attacks by individuals on motorbikes are increasing in Accra and its surroundings, including areas around the High Commission of Canada. Violent crimes have also increased, including armed robbery.
“Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone or displaying signs of wealth. Home invasions are on the rise. Affluent areas in Accra where foreigners live are targeted and some thieves carry firearms.
“There have been recent cases of violent robberies often targeting foreigners traveling in taxis at night. If you have to use a taxi, ensure that there is no other passenger in the car and try to limit trips to day-time hours.
“When possible, carry photocopies of your travel documents and keep the originals in a secure place.
“There is an increase in crime Tema, Kumasi, and the Upper East and West regions. Armed robberies of vehicles are a growing concern in areas such as Takoradi, Kumasi and other parts of the Ashanti region. People working in the mining industry should be particularly cautious. Armed attacks have also been reported along the Accra-Tema and Accra-Kumasi-Tamale highways. You should remain vigilant at all times.
“Thefts occur at Kotoka International Airport in Accra and in hotels across the country. Be wary of unsolicited assistance from uniformed porters or officials appearing to work at Kotoka International Airport. Official airport employees wear identification cards bearing both their name and photograph. If you are being met at the airport, you should confirm the identity of your driver.”
The Embassy’s underscore, that these crimes are increasing falls in unison with already prevailing lamentation that since the New Patriotic Party came to power seven months ago, insecurity has worsened throughout the country.
Under the watch of President Akufo-Addo, party goons have wrought mayhem, with the heights of the impunity happening in Kumasi where adjudication in a circuit court was overthrown by party hoodlums and suspects freed while a judge was assaulted.
On Tuesday, another group of party goons threatened at a Town Hall meeting in Tema to replicate the Kumasi mayhems in Accra if President Akufo-Addo and the NPP government do not give them employment.
The general state of insecurity has been characterized with murders of security agents, robberies and even ritual killings.
The Canadian government’s alert also warned of possible terror attacks in affluent parts of the cities of Ghana where expatriates frequent, including malls and hotels.
“There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist targets could include shopping malls, government buildings, and public areas such as bars, restaurants, hotels and sites frequented by Westerners. Be aware of your surroundings in public places.”
This aspect of the alert has since drawn a demand for assurance of safety from the President by the Minority National Democratic Party’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, and MP for North Tongu, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
“I think that it is important for the Ghanaian government to respond to this, if there is a looming terrorist attack. If there is, how citizens are alerted and what is being done to ensure that we are safe,” Hon. Ablakwa said in Parliament yesterday.
The alert by the Canadian government also warned of increasing fraud, especially cyber scams, popularly known in Ghana as ‘Sakawa’, looming violent demonstrations against the NPP government and extortion by a corrupt Police Administration headed by IGP David Asante Apeatu
“Police roadblocks are routine. At checkpoints, vehicles and passengers may be subject to inspections, and armed security forces may demand money, either directly or indirectly. You should always carry copies of identification documents, such as your passport and valid visa, and your International Driving Permit (IDP).
“Ensure that, your road-worthy and insurance stickers are up-to-date, and that your car is equipped with a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher and a warning triangle, as these items are mandatory.”
The alert condemned the state of public transportation in Ghana and advised precious Canadian citizens to as much as possible keep to private cars, warning that even though cars are available for charter, it is expensive to do so.