The government of the United Kingdom (UK) has updated its travel advice to its citizens in Ghana following recent kidnappings and other crimes in Ghana.
The British High Commission in Ghana said the update, released on 7 June 2019, includes a piece of "new advice on kidnapping".
The travel advice entreated the about 90,000 British nationals who visit Ghana every year, to “take sensible precautions”, adding: “Be particularly vigilant in public areas, and take care when travelling by road”.
It noted that: “There have been reports in the media of criminally-motivated kidnapping in Accra, Takoradi, and Kumasi, including targeting foreign nationals. Kidnaps can be for financial or political gain or can be motivated by criminality. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release”.
It added: “The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal”.
The British High Commission indicated that various groups, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-IM) and Daesh-affiliated groups, pose as threats.
“There is a heightened risk of kidnapping in areas bordering the Sahel. Terrorist groups have kidnapped foreigners, government officials and civilians in the region for financial gain and for political leverage. Further kidnaps are likely. Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets,” the British High Commission added.
This comes in the wake of the recent kidnapping of two Canadian citizens in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
The two were kidnapped at Silver Spring Avenue, a hostel near the Royal Golf Club at Nhyiaeso in the Ashanti regional capital.
Bailey Jordan Chitty, 19, and Lauren Patricia Catherine Tilley, 20, were bundled into a private Toyota Corolla car after they had alighted from an Uber car and whisked away amidst gunshots. The two are volunteers with a Non-Governmental Organisation known as Youth Challenge International.
The police have, however, mounted a search for the duo and making every effort to arrest the kidnappers.
There has been an increase in the number of kidnappings in Ghana.
In April this year, an Indian was also kidnapped in the Ashanti Region and later rescued.
Mr Om-Parkash Chudry was kidnapped on Thursday, 25 April 2019 by unidentified gunmen.
The kidnappers, numbering about three, assaulted him and pushed him into a car and sped off.
Mr Chudry, however, struggled with the kidnappers, overpowered them and took refuge at a nearby house and later called the police, who subsequently rescued him in the early hours of Friday, 26 April 2019.
Currently, three Ghanaian girls, who were also kidnapped since August last year in Ghana’s oil-rich city of Takoradi, have still not been found.