The news has broken around Ghana, and many are deeply concerned by it. Two Yemeni ex-detainees are about to start new lives in Ghana, and not everyone is au fait with the government’s willingness to let them in.
The two ex-detainees, Khalid al-Dhuby and Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef, have called Guantanamo Bay home the last 14 years though they were never charged with a crime. Whether you call it a detention center, a camp, or a prison, it’s the place where the United States government has detained terrorist suspects and instigators since 2002.
Run by the military, the legality of Guantanamo Bay has always been questionable. That’s precisely why U.S. President Barak Obama has vowed to release detainees and close this detention center before he leaves office next year.
And that brings us to the Yemeni men headed for Ghana. They need somewhere to live now that they’re no longer in the custody of the U.S. military – and the United States doesn’t believe they should relocate inside of American borders.
Fair enough, but is it safe to bring them to Ghana? And why would they want to come here anyhow?
The second question is far easier to answer. Apparently, the Yemeni ex-detainees cheered loudly when the Black Stars beat the American football teams at previous World Cup Matches. These guys are fans of Ghanaian soccer stars.
But, will we be safe?
That’s ever so much more difficult to answer; if at all possible without the ability to peer into the future.
The attack on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso last Friday needs to be brought into the equation, even if it is an apparently separate event. Claimed to be the work of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, this terrorist attack claimed nearly 30 lives.
And that’s not the scary part. Muslims in Ghana, including those in leadership positions, fear the development of extremist and militant cells in the country. When Islamic terrorist attacks strike so close to home, it’s worth worrying about.
Not that anyone (including the American and Ghanaian governments) believes the Yemeni ex-detainees will arrive in Ghana and begin stirring the waters. But, their presence could trigger reactions from extremists… or those terrified by extremism.
Is it safe?
Perhaps as long as Ghanaians maintain a level of tolerance and stability.
But, perhaps… and this is a big leap… the promise of the government to accept the Yemeni ex-detainees was released to cover the arrival of another group of migrants. The Ghanaian government is apparently in negotiations with the Chinese to relocate some their businesses to Ghana.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, if you thought figuring out whether welcoming Yemeni ex-detainees was safe, you won’t believe how tricky it is to determine whether Chinese factories in Ghana is a good or bad thing.