Terror Attacks in Ivory Coast: Is Ghana Next?
Author: JayJay D. Segbefia, NAV Journalist, Business Person, Jungle Boy Chupachups Accra-GHANA First off, if your response as soon as you saw the heading of this article was, “Tofiakwa! God forbid!” then you really need to be taken out and shot by the next available terrorist. When the assault is launched on Ghana (and I will soon give you several reasons why it probably might before this year is over), we will not be saved by our laughable religious fanaticism and unfounded charismatic sentimentalism, but by our readiness and preparedness, and by an almighty dose of the common sense that so eludes our government sometimes. We must be out of our minds if we think we’re more righteous as a nation than our neighbours who have lost lives to AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), perpetrators of the killings in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and now Ivory Coast. Our elders used to recommend that one puts a pail of water on stand-by as soon as one sees his neighbour’s beard on fire. That recommendation needs amendment, in my jungle opinion. What if I knock down the pail of water in my haste to douse my beard when mine catches fire? Consequently, my personal policy remains to immerse my beard in the Wli waterfalls as soon as I see my neighbour’s beard smoking. Let’s first get to understand who these terrorists are, what they want, how they are funded and how Ghana can refuse to be an easy target, before we assume the unfounded arrogance of hoping that the prayers of AGLOW International Ghana alone will save us. 1. Who carried out the Ivorian and other Attacks? And Why?The attacks in Grand Bassam were carried out by six gunmen affiliated with AQIM. Although globally recognized as being an offshoot of Al Qaeda, its members tend to refer to themselves more as the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). MUJAO’s overriding goal is to “unite all Muslims from the Nile to the Atlantic in jihad against Westerners”. All that they did in Mali, Burkina Faso, and now Ivory Coast, is nothing but an announcing launch of their intentions for the rest of West Africa, and Ghana is an integral part of the grounds they wish to cover with their preliminary campaign. Unless we truly relocate to the Equator and build a Jericho wall around our proposed island nation where rainbows are found at the end of tunnels, we all had better reach out for some body armour. 2. Where do they get their funding? In addition to ransom demands from kidnappings and launching assaults on mines and barracks in search of funds and resources, MUJAO gets its funding mostly from the bottomless pockets of the West African drugs trade, and Ghana is a key signatory to the accords of that illicit trade as a passive transit zone. Remember how scanners at KIA got turned off some time ago just to allow drugs to pass unmolested through our domain? Let’s not be fooled at all by the seemingly huge reduction of the numbers of drug traffickers arrested over the course of the past eight years. A government that is notorious for arresting drug dealers is not a drug-riddled government as many have been led to believe, but a drug-intolerant one. The illicit drug trade isn’t any less rampant because few arrests seem now to be made. On the contrary, silence on the drug-trafficking front is indicative of a dangerous connivance of port authorities with drug lords. By affording drug dealers unprecedented privileges of transiting their wares through VIP lounges at our ports, we effectively contribute to funding MUJAO. 3. Why would MUJAO attack Ghana? There are three core reasons why they would. The first is that they want to. I would love any expedition from the Nile to the Atlantic. I can already imagine the great biodiversity, the ecology, the orgasmic cultural experiences and the fun such a journey would offer. But that is me. MUJAO does not think like I do. For them, it’s a question of how much damage they can inflict and, even better, how much mileage they can achieve in the international press. Hard as that might sound, MUJAO loves PR more than our President, and are more than willing to travel the distance to get it. So, they want it to be known that they have all it takes to take out targets in West African countries from the Nile to the Atlantic. They have the will; they will find a way. It’s that simple. Second, the successes of Boko Haram’s terror campaign in Nigeria has boosted the morale of Islamic extremists in West Africa. The theory seems to be true that West African armies are only living under the reputation of past glories. Having been used more as coup-protecting appendages of illegitimate rulers during the ‘80s, and their menacing ruthlessness and civilian slapping sprees no longer tolerated in peace-loving democracies, our soldiers have resorted to sporting pot-bellies, and are seen no longer to be adequate deterrents to those who are more than willing to lose their lives just to make a statement. The abysmal handling of Boko Haram by the Military High Command in Nigeria before Buhari speaks volumes about West African armies’ readiness to tackle terrorism. Ghana’s Armed Forces have not been tested since Rwanda in 1994 and the slapping of the Ghanaian Times reporter at the other Independence Day parade in 2013; so it’s really difficult to say how things will turn out. Suffice it to say that the handling of the 501 recruits issue is an indication of how low our Armed Forces can also stoop sometimes. I mean, you pick up 501 of Ghana’s able-bodied young men and (maybe) women who are willing and ready (never mind that most do if for hopeful economic empowerment reasons) to die for this apampamu-store republic, and grant one of them power to call all 500 to a parade. He exercises that power and uses it to further his own agenda. The others, after realizing that the ‘Annoyance Parade’ was not what it was supposed to be refuse to be part of it and reaffirm their allegiance to your (howbeit brutish) training regimen. You continue the training as if nothing has happened, send them off under the pretext that they have been offered the privilege of joining their families for Christmas, and then tell the palpable lie to the Ghanaian media that 501 recruits rebelled against your training regimen and therefore have been sacked. Who does that? Or our soldiers think the civilian population washes its face upwards? Ghanaian journalists do not have the gonads required to investigate the matter beyond the Military’s statements, and for good reason. The echo of Vincent Dzatse’s slap still resounds in their ears la. If that debacle is anything to go by, we can rest assured that a response to a terrorist strike here will be reactionary as has been in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. Third, Ghana goes to the polls in November 2016. The news of what happens will only be overshadowed by the US Polls. All the major news networks around the globe will otherwise be focused here. And, even terrorists know that the world press are biased towards bad news as bad grammar is biased towards the NDC government. We’ve got everything they need at the moment. And our beachfronts, hotels and malls are just awesome! Now, as a jungle survivor extraordinaire, I will recommend three things to do when we get attacked: 1. Run like hell! I don’t know what, in a pig fart’s name, you would be sticking around for. As we speak, I have given names in my head already mpo to the six exits at the Accra Mall, all of them after my ex-girlfriends… Aisha, Alisha, Tanisha, Tasha, Moesha and the one who tried to kill me… Kamisha. Remember that dude in the Al-Shabab Kenyan university attack who went back into the fray to try and save his girlfriend? Pulling crap like that would get you shot like he was. Run, dammit! 2. If you can’t run, hide like hell! And I don’t mean in your girlfriend’s handbag. Find a steel door, a bin, a roof door or some concrete latrine and hide. Don’t forget to silence your phone, and do not attempt to take a selfie with the terrorists. You will be shoot! (In Independence brochure English). 3. After you have ran or are well-hidden, call the hellish Police! Uhm… strike that. Which Police? Call a radio station instead. You know darn well that darn 9-1-1 shindig doesn’t work here. We’ve tried it before, remember? And a miserable excuse of a Policewoman picked it and laughed shortly into it before slamming down the handset! So call the radio station, and hopefully, some hard-wired Special Forces dude with metal gonads will arrive half-an-hour after to prevent the escape of the infidels. What? You thought you could call them in to stop the infidels BEFORE they shoot some people? What have you been drinking? There are three ways to make that even remotely possible: 1. Ghana needs to beef up its Public-Place Security Places like the Accra and West Hills Malls need to, as a matter of urgency, play host to a platoon of Police officers and soldiers. As well as an army of CCTV cameras and body scanners. That nonsense indulged in by our president and everyone else just won’t wash. Did condemnations of the Malian attacks stop the Burkinabe one? Huh? Did the condemnation of the Burkinabe one stop the Ivorian one? Did it? How about the Facebook flag thingy? They did nada! So stop condemning and show some action, dammit! I was in Abidjan recently. I stepped out of the Ibis Marcory hotel, took two paces and remembered I had forgotten to carry my power bank from my room. So I stopped, turned around and tried to re-enter the iron gates of the hotel. I was given a shockingly thorough search like I had just returned from Afghanistan, never mind that the guard had smiled at me when I was stepping out. Just five seconds o! So fill our public and expat hangouts with the meanest, ‘baddest’, Kalashnikov-touting soldiers and police officers who wasted precious time jumping up and down in that lousy 59th Indece parade. Put them to better use than that, and we might – not could – prevent us all from getting shot. 2. The hotels have already put in some mean measures, and that is awesome. I couldn’t get a plastic gun into Tawala the other night so I’m encouraged. But we need to do more. We need to screen people as they enter into hotels, and that includes the serving men and kitchen wenches. You dey there and crack nuts with your butt-cheeks. You would soon find yourself in a jihadist heaven if you think these are extreme measures. 3. Get involved in the campaign to rid Ghana of the resident deadGoat! Look. That man means Ghana no good. It is corruption that could enable these terrorists to get in with their weapons and arsenals, and all the corruption in Ghana exist because of his spineless leadership. Even the campaign to boot him out of office will get all the corrupt elements that is his entire government afraid. They will tone down on the accursed phenomenon, and maybe – just maybe – we might grab the terrorists before they shoot our cleavage-bearing and mini-skirt-clad girls patrolling the Accra Mall and giving our old men heart attacks. We need to act now, and take no chances. You, dey there. Me, I have a Kalashnikov.