On September 26, last year, we published a front-page story headlined ‘Protecting country against terrorist attacks: 48 foreigners nabbed in Ejisu’.
The source of that story was the Ejisu Divisional Police Command, which confirmed an operation conducted to arrest the foreigners at Ekyem, a community in Ejisu Municipality, based on a tip-off.
The Assembly member for Akokoamon-Achiase-Ekyem electoral areas, Daniel Owusu, was quoted in the story, apparently confirming the arrest which was made upon a tip-off when he said he and his community members had observed the ‘suspicious activities’ of the foreigners for some months and, therefore, decided to report them to the police for investigation.
The police source also speaking to our correspondent then, said the investigation was going to focus on whether the suspects had links with any terrorist group in some of our neighbouring countries.
After publishing the story, we expected the powers that be to give feedback on the sensitive matter of national concern, taking into account the harmful activities terrorists were carrying out in Burkina Faso and the Sahel region.
However, there was no further information on the arrest of the suspects and so we decided to find out after a three-month wait. We were simply doing a follow-up to the original story.
Therefore, we went enquiring about the whereabouts of the suspects from both the local police command and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) since the issue bordered on crime and those involved were foreigners (immigrants).
On Thursday, we published our findings in a story with the headline ‘48 alleged ‘terrorists’ missing? …Police, Immigration Service in blame game over their whereabouts’. This was the question we posed in our headline.
In short, while the police claimed the suspects were handed over to the GIS office in the Ejisu Municipality to deal with them, the GIS insisted the police handled the matter.
Fortunately, the National Security outfit reacted to the Thursday story and we had to publish their response yesterday as our lead story the same way as we had given prominence to the two earlier related stories.
The headline for the latest story was ‘47 foreign nationals repatriated …for engaging in illegal QNET – National Security’.
The National Security clarified that the foreigner suspects were 47 African nationals who were arrested for allegedly engaging in illegal Network Marketing (QNET) in the Ashanti Region and not “48 alleged terrorists” as we earlier reported.
The National Security source answering the question posed in our earlier story said the suspects were not missing, but had been repatriated to their respective countries since September, last year, and even gave the breakdown of their numbers according to home countries.
Even though we are grateful that the National Security outfit has come in to clear the air, we would have wished this information were made public earlier otherwise we would not have posed the question and published our Thursday story as that story now gives the impression that certain state organisations that should complement each other’s roles in their related fields are not doing the needful.
Besides, that long wait may have painted the Ghanaian Times as having put out misinformation.
However, as a national newspaper of repute and one alive to journalistic ethics, and dedicated to high journalistic standards, we could not have put out misinformation.
We therefore appeal to state organisations and even private ones, as well as individuals, to provide the media the relevant and accurate information to feed the reading and listening public to safeguard everyone’s integrity.