A man said to be the brain behind terrorist attack at the Grand Bassam Hotel in Ivory Coast has reportedly confirmed Ghana and Togo have been marked for terror strikes.
The Malian national whose identity has not been made public by the National Security Council security officials reportedly revealed this during interrogation by Ivorian security agencies.
The security document, presented as an alert and dated April 9, 2016, was sent to security agencies in Ghana.
The alert opens with the statement “Intelligence gathered by the National Security Council (NSCS), indicates a possible terrorist attack on the country is real.”
The 9-point alert states in part that the choice of Ghana by the terrorists is to “take away the perception that only francophone countries are the target.”
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has executed deadly strikes in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
Their latest strike at an Ivorian beach resort – the Grand Bassam Hotel – claimed about 18 lives, after similar attacks in Burkina Faso claimed more than 30 lives.
According to the alert, Ghana and Togo are the next targets after the attacks on the francophone countries.
The alert also asked security officials at Ghana’s borders to be extra vigilant – especially controls at the northern borders with Burkina Faso.
“You are to conduct thorough profiling of all persons arriving from the perceived high risk countries within the region (Libya, Niger and Mali),” the alert urged Ghana’s security agencies.
The security document reveals the attackers may enter through approved and unapproved entry points.
“In the Ivorian attacks they reportedly entered from Mali using Niger register 4×4 vehicle. They reportedly concealed their weapons and grenade in the vehicles compartment for spare tyres, padded with cushions and bubbled wraps to keep them stable and prevent noise,” the alert revealed.
Ghana’s security agencies have been asked to treat the alert “as very important”.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is a Salafi-jihadist militant group and U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO) operating in the Sahara and Sahel.
The group traces its provenance to Algeria’s civil war in the 1990s and has in the past decade become an al-Qaeda affiliate with regional ambitions. AQIM and its offshoots pose the primary transnational terror threat in North and West Africa.
The flow of militants from the Sahara and Sahel to Syria and Iraq, where thousands of Moroccan and Tunisian citizens have joined terrorist groups, is raising concerns about battle-hardened fighters returning to these relatively stable countries.