CISA Ghana calls for a Foreign Fighters Act

The Centre for Intelligence and Security Analysis (CISA)Ghana has bemoaned the absence of Foreign Fighters Act in the country.

According to CISA, more Ghanaian youth run to warzones, terrorist cells; and return as radicalised lone wolves or form sleeper cells.

CISA says Ghana needs to enact new counter-terrorism legislation – a Foreign Fighters Act (FFA) – that caters for the reintegration of radicalised youth and war returnees, the Centre for Intelligence and Security Analysis (CISA Ghana) has advocated.

At a sensitisation seminar for journalists on the theme: ‘The media and security in an election year”, organised by the Centre at its Adjiringanor headquarters in Accra on Friday, April 26, 2024, ahead of the 7 December 2024 general elections, the CISA Chief Executive Officer, Ambassador Rasheed Inusah, who is a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), highlighted the importance of the Act and its role in mitigating and curbing the rising number of Ghanaian mercenary and extremist recruits.

Ambassador Inusah, who also served as Director-General of the Research Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said the legislative lacuna is fostering the festering exploitative recruitment of local youth to fight foreign wars.

He recalled that in 2015, “a 25-year-old Ghanaian graduate, Mohammed Nazir Nortei Alema, was recruited by ISIS but later died in Syria.”

Similarly, Ambassador Inusah recounted how, in October 2017, there were reports that about 100 Ghanaian migrants joined ISIS in Libya, with some forcefully conscripted and others joining voluntarily for financial rewards and safety.

He noted that since January 2024, there have been reports of an unspecified number of Ghanaians being recruited into both sides of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Allegedly, he noted, “Some Ghanaians who are part of the foreign fighters are reportedly dead in the warzone.”

In the estimation of the CISA Chief Executive Officer, “The limited economic prospects of domestic opportunities have made the youth vulnerable to foreign exploitation to outside predation even in the face of tragic consequences.”

“It is now time”, he urged, “For most countries in Africa, especially Ghana, to consider the urgent need to address these concerns through the enactment of new counter-terrorism legislation (Foreign Fighters) Act.”

Such an Act, the former NIB boss noted, “Will make it an offense for intentionally entering a foreign country to engage in hostile activity.”

“The Act will also extend the scope of punishment to the maximum penalty of life imprisonment to any person found guilty to have entered a foreign country with intent to engage in hostile activity”, the security and intelligence expert added.

Ambassador Inusah stressed the “need to have adequate safeguards to strengthen the capabilities of the security and intelligence agencies to keep Ghana safe.”

CISA, he noted, “believes that the FFA will bestow the law enforcement agencies with the powers to take effective action in advance of any terrorist act being committed.”

“Significantly,” Ambassador Rasheed Inusah highlighted that “the law maintains the government’s focus on combating terrorism.”

The current situation, Ambassador Inusah pointed out, “remains worrying, as Ghana could be confronting more potential home-grown terrorists than ever before.”

The government, he insisted, “needs to institute measures to prevent young Ghanaians from being radicalised by leaving Ghana to join extremists overseas and to ensure those who return do not become involved in terrorist activity in the country.”


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