Ghanaian arrested in ranks of Islamic State-Libya operations – UN report

A Ghanaian has been arrested along with other African recruits in the ranks of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Libya (ISIL-Libya), according to a recent UN report.

The report dated February 3, 2022, was the 29th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Al-Qaeda, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities.

The report was, however, submitted to the UN Security Council Committee.

It pointed out that the unnamed Ghanaian was among 30 other nationals found to be part of the ISIL-Libya’s operations.

The other foreigners were from Eritrea, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, and Sudan.

The relevant portion that mentioned Ghana read: “Members of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant–Libya (ISIL-Libya) (QDe.165) are also present in the Fezzan region, but the group is estimated to have been degraded to approximately 50 fighters, located mainly between Sabha, Murzuq, and Umm al-Aranib. A recent arrest led to the identification of a further 30 foreign fighters from Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, the Niger, Senegal, and Sudan.”

It continued that although weakened, “ISIL-Libya retains some operational capability and prioritizes its continued presence in southern Libya, where it hopes to reorganize its command.”

It is not the first time that a Ghanaian has been mentioned as having joined the ranks of the global terrorist group.

In 2015, it emerged that a 25-year- old graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Nazir Nortei Alema, had joined the terrorist organization, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Nazir, at the time a graduate with a degree in Geography and Rural Development, reportedly started his fateful trip to the training grounds of the so-called Islamic State, on 2nd August 2015, soon after his completion of the mandatory National Service in Ghana, which he undertook at the Statistical Service.

He reportedly sent a WhatsApp message to the family indicating that he was on his way to Prestea from where he would proceed to Takoradi on an official assignment.

He later sent another message indicating that he had lied to the family and that the truth was that he was on his way to join the ISIS.

In 2016, the Finder newspaper also carried a report that Nazir had been killed and absentee prayers held for him in line with Islamic customs back home.

In the wake of security-related coups in West Africa – especially in Mali and more recently in next door Burkina Faso, the government has had cause to reassure citizens of the preparedness of security agencies in curbing any terrorist attacks.

A Deputy Minister of Defence, recently reiterated the assurances and urged all Ghanaians to be on alert especially within border areas.

Government via the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah in 2021 confirmed that at least one Ghanaian had been recruited to participate in terrorist operations.

“The government will wish to assure citizens that it will continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure that Ghana is protected. In the last few months, countries that share borders with Ghana including Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire have experienced a series of terrorist attacks and there is no evidence that at least one Ghanaian [has been] confirmed to have been recruited by some of these terrorist groups to participate in their activities,” he said.

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