Ex-Guantanamo Bay Detainees are not the reason why Ghana will be a target of terrorists, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has said.
“If we send the ex-detainees back, it does not mean we are safe. We are already exposed to terrorism threats,” she stated.
The two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby arrived in Ghana on 6th January to stay for two years.
They were in detention for close to 14 years after being picked up in Afghanistan and suspected to have been linked to the terrorist group, Al-Quaeda.
As part of fulfilling a policy by US president, Barrack Obama to close down a detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, detainees who pose no threat are being released to return to their countries.
But the two are Yemenis and the country is currently politically unstable to accept returnees. They were therefore given a third country option, which was to live in Ghana and they accepted it.
Ghana agreed to host them for two years. The United States of America has expressed gratitude to Ghana for agreeing to host the ex-detainees.
Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby have expressed profound gratitude to the entire country for welcoming them to Ghana.
But many Ghanaians have kicked against the move. The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) have insisted that government must return the two Yemeni terror suspects after an emergency meeting with government officials.
The NPP has raised concerns about inadequate consultations on the part of government before the two were brought in. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference is the latest to wade into the call to return the ex-detainees.
But Hanna Tetteh says, “Whether or not these two people are in Ghana we will always be exposed to a threat of terrorism,” she stated.
She added that the two ex-detainees were low-level Al- Qaeda fighters and have been cut off from the outside world for fourteen years and do not pose a terrorism threat to Ghana.
“I will say they were ‘footsoldiers’ in Al-Qaeda and they have said they wanted to get on with their lives and they are low-risk detainees, they talk about wanting to further their education,” she stated.
According to the minister, “there were a lot of exchange of documents and information before Ghana agreed to take in the two ex-detainees.”
She added that the terror suspects are going to be monitored by the National Security and they will be under surveillance wherever they go.