The announcement by government to settle two Guantanamo bay detainees in Ghana for obvious reasons has generated a lot of uproar among Ghanaians.
The news of the settlement which was released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been received with mixed reaction, with some describing the decision as a risky move that could harm the security of the nation.
The concerns of most Ghanaians stem from reports that the two detainees originally from Yemeni, are terrorists with Al Qaeda ties being transferred from the controversial US military prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
The government has given assurances that the two do not pose any security threat but, irrespective of the assurance, Ghanaians continue to be apprehensive of the two detainees, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby.
The two are among 17 detainees expected to be transferred from the prison camp, and the US government will bear the cost of their settlement in the host country.
In addition to accepting to host the two detainees upon a request from the US government, the government also announced that at the behest of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Ghana has, on humanitarian grounds, accepted to provide refuge for a number of persons from Rwanda, Yemen and Syria who had been tried and either acquitted or charged or had served sentences but did not find it appropriate to settle in Rwanda.
It gave the assurance that “in all instances, the persons being allowed into the country are subject to security clearance and their activities will be monitored during their stay in the country”.
The justification that the decision to host these refugees is on humanitarian grounds and the circumstances that led to Ghana’s acceptance of the US’s request to host the detainees, raises a lot of questions.
First, of all the countries across the globe, the Times marvels at how Ghana became the choice and host of Guantanamo detainees in the US’s attempt to dissolve the prison. If other countries declined the hosting request from the US, then what could be their reasons?
Secondly, was the government coerced by the US government into accepting the request, or is Ghana going to benefit in any way? If not why would the government accept such a request which from all indications appears not to be in the interest of the nation.
The Times joins the cross-section of concerned Ghanaians in calling on government to rethink the decision since the uproar against it should serve as warning to the government.
We urge the government to share details of the agreement with the US on the transfer deal with the public. We must rethink this deal again!