CANADIAN GIRLS’ KIDNAPPERS RECRUITED PARTNERS FROM GHANA, SAYS SECURITY MINISTER Featured

Bryan Acheampong Bryan Acheampong

Details are emerging which suggest that, to facilitate their dirty business and elude the nation’s security agencies, the few professional Nigerian kidnappers doing business in Ghana are trying to recruit Ghanaians. In the process, they are building a network across the country.

This secret was leaked by intelligence chiefs, led by the Minister of State in charge of national security, Bryan Acheampong, after several suspects were apprehended in the kidnapping case involving two young Canadian social workers in Ahodwo, a suburb of Kumasi.

They have made voluntary confessions to the police since their arrest and interrogation.

The Canadian women were rescued in Kenyasi, another suburb of Kumasi, after members of the public volunteered information in response to reports that the two women were missing.

The two victims, Lauren Patricia Catherine Tilley, 19, and Bailey Jordan Chitty, 20, both student volunteers with an organisation called Youth Challenge International, had been reported missing several days ago.

Tactical

Most of the ringleaders of the suspects are said to be Nigerians. They were arrested in a police raid early on Wednesday morning in the Ashanti regional capital.

In statements to the police, they are believed to have said they recruited Ghanaians to help them carry out with their mission, in order not to raise suspicion. The move was tactical: Nigerians have a poor image in Ghana and locals are viewed as more hospitable.

Several dozen Ghanaians who were approached by the Nigerians to join their ranks rejected the offer, Mr Acheampong revealed in an interview yesterday.

Successful operation

Hailing the rescue mission as very successful, Mr Acheampong said in rounding up the criminals the joint security operation successfully traced most of the people who had come into contact with the Nigerian suspects.

“When the Nigerians first came to Ghana from Aflao, they made contact with some people, trying to recruit them. They went to Ashaiman trying to recruit them,” the Minister said.

“In Kumasi, they made several local contacts ... A lot of these people rejected the offer … because what was being introduced to them was completely alien.”
Mr Acheampong, who is also the MP for Abetifi, commended the Ghanaian contacts.

Enquiries ongoing

Although eight people have officially been arrested in direct connection with the incident, many others have been picked up because they came into contact with the Nigerian suspects, Mr Acheampong said.

“We have picked up almost everybody in the chain and we are still picking people … we are interviewing them,” he said.

Investigations are ongoing and further suspects may be arrested. The Minister said the suspects would be profiled to ascertain whether or not they were directly involved in the crime.

No cause for alarm

Mr Acheampong also argued that Ghana has not a security problem but a political problem. The politicisation of security matters ends up presenting minor issues as if they were big security threats, he said.

“We don’t have a security situation in this country, we have a political problem. That is the problem we have.
“And everybody tries to politicise any minor or major security issues. When we are supposed to deal with crime as crime, we take a political stance,” he said.


 

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Last modified on Friday, 14 June 2019 14:00
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