It is a frightening scenario whichever way you look at it; the arrest last week of seven men in a small hamlet, Dzenton Daboase, near Salaga with two AK 47 assault rifles, raises many questions and sends shivers down the spines of Ghanaians.
Though the men have not been formally charged in a court of law, evidence collected by authorities — a video on terror group, the Taliban and a blackboard replete with terrorism instructions — has led to speculations that the men are terrorists in training, with ties to one of the world’s most notorious and deadliest and terrorist group, the Taliban.
Given the fact that guns were found on the suspects, it is certainly not out of place to speculate and throw charges around. However, I think there has been a rush to judgement here. Before we leap to conclusions, it is prudent to hold our tongues until the suspects tell their side of the story. What we have heard so far, is the official version.
Pronouncing the suspects guilty of terrorism long before it is legally and irrefutably established that they indeed intended to carry out acts of violence rings hollow and amounts to saber-rattling.
Least things are misconstrued, I am not by any chance declaring the suspects innocent. After all, they were nabbed with deadly assault rifles and that alone should send them to the slammer (jail) for years.
However, the more serious charge of terrorism, if it is brought forward by prosecutors at all, should be thoroughly investigated and when proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the men did in fact intend to terrorize society and create mayhem, the law should come down even harder on them.
But while congratulating authorities for their quick action in arresting the men upon a tipoff from concerned neighbors, there is one lingering question we should ask ourselves; why are guns so easily obtainable in our society these days despite stringent gun laws? How did the suspects, hailing from a remote part of the northern region as it were, lay their hands on those deadly AK 47s?
There is, without doubt, a source for these guns and that is where authorities should concentrate their attention if they want to stop the illegal trade in guns. Unfortunately, Ghanaians have become enamored with these weapons of destruction, some ostensibly to protect their families and others to engage in criminal activities.
The other day, a bunch of criminals was nabbed in Kumasi and a large stack of AK 47s recovered. That our society is now awash in guns is a sad reflection of our fast deteriorating moral values.
With terrorism taking center stage in the world lately, Ghanaian are, of course, leery of individuals who profess allegiance to the purveyors of violence and death, be it Boko Haram, Al-Quaeda or Islamic State. But they won’t get far because ordinary citizens are now the eyes and ears of law enforcement and would not hesitate, like the gallant citizens of Dzento Daboase did, to expose them.
Terrorism has no place in our society. Despite high levels of unemployment, poverty and dissatisfaction with the ruling elite, Ghanaians won’t countenance any form of terrorism. They can ill-afford to, because nations ravaged by terrorism take decades to recover.
There are other avenues to address pent-up grievances other than resorting to violence. Ghanaians would rather bear their financial and economic difficulties with dignity and wait patiently for elections to throw out those they deem unfit to govern them.