The Africa Centre for Security and Counter-terrorism (ACSC) on Monday appealed to Ghanaians to go beyond pandering to emotions over the two Guantanamo detainees in Ghana to dispassionately examine the issues at stake.
A statement issued to the Ghana News Agency and signed by Emmanuel Mawanye Kotin, Head of programmes, said ACSC had been following with keen interest the recent transfer of two Guantanamo Bay detainees of Yemeni descent to Ghana and the subsequent national debate that it had generated.
It said the two Yemeni Guantanamo detainees; Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby had been temporarily relocated to Ghana with the understanding that they would be repatriated to their native Yemen when conditions there permit in the near future.
ACSC has observed the position of some Ghanaians that the two Yeminis posed a security risk to Ghana as their presence could draw attraction to Ghana and put the country on the radar of terrorists, however, Ghana’s action of providing temporary residence to the two Yemenis is gracious act of succor to distressed persons whose home country is currently not conducive for their return.
By accepting to host them temporary, Ghana is acting as a morally responsible member of the global community of nations and this is in line with its record as a prominent global actor in peace keeping, peace building, and peace enforcement.
Ghana has sent her soldiers and policemen to global hotspots in times when victims of war have needed rescue most, both sides of the conflict in Lebanon, for instance, have appreciated Ghana as a country of great peacekeeping men and women, the statement said.
For all these years of bringing comfort to the needy, Ghana has not been targeted by terrorists. It is therefore reasonable to expect that simply providing relief to the two Yemeni should not have any negative security implications for a country that has an honourable track record of bringing peace to war-ravaged places.
ACSC is therefore of the conviction that the provision of refuge for the two Yemenis will not attract any negative attention from those who seek to export terrorism, rather, Ghana may be seen as a peace loving country that can provide support towards the resettlement of former terrorists.
It should be remembered that the United States released them because they do not pose any material or potential threat to peace, the statement said.
If they were potentially a terrorism threat, the United States would not release them, it said, adding that while we recognized that the government should have engaged parliament and civil society in general on the acceptance of these persons to ensure transparency and the attached conditions, the effort of the Ghanaian state to be a responsible partner in International Relations is commendable.
Government must nevertheless ensure that the security agencies monitor the actions and in actions of these individuals.
Ghanaians should therefore look beyond the emotional commentary and remember that the foundational values of Ghana as a hospitable country morally requires of the country to support the rehabilitation and re-settlement of former Guantanamo detainees.