Accra (AFP) – Ghana and Togo are likely targets of possible Islamist attacks similar to those recently in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, a Ghanaian intelligence report has warned.
“Intelligence gathered by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) indicates a possible terrorist attack on the country (Ghana) is real,” it said in a report dated April 9.
The threat emerged after questioning of a Malian attacker involved in the Grand-Bassam attacks last month, in which jihadists killed 19 people at the resort, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Abidjan.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack, as well as a similar strike in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, in January that left 30 dead.
“According to the report, Ghana and Togo are the next targets after the attacks in Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire,” according to the security alert, which was published in local media Friday.
Ivory Coast is Ghana’s neighbour to the west while Togo lies to the east.
The choice of Ghana is “to take away the perception that only francophone countries are the targets”, the NSCS added.
It called for greater vigilance at borders, particularly “unapproved entry points” and the northern frontier with Burkina Faso.
Screening for visitors from “high risk” countries such as Libya, Niger and Mali should be enhanced, it added.
In the Ivory coast attack, the heavily armed gunmen entered from Mali in a Niger-registered 4×4 and hid their weapons in the spare tyre well, the NSCS said.
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama said on Friday that “all West African countries were at risk” of attack.
“Indeed, no country is safe anywhere in the world and so we need to be alert and prepared for any such eventuality,” he said.
“We are preparing for any such eventuality but we need the alertness of the public; the public needs to be more alert today than before.”
Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are all part of the west African regional bloc ECOWAS, whose nationals do not require visas for travel within member states.