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Airport Company Beefs Up Security
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Following terrorist attacks on the Brussels Airport in Belgium and a warning by security chiefs
of a credible terrorist threat to all countries in the sub-region, including Ghana, Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) has beefed up security in and around airports in the country.

In a notice to the travelling public, issued by the GACL and sighted by The Finder, it indicated that all passengers would be screened before entering departure halls.

In addition, entry into the terminal has been restricted to only the travelling public.

According to the statement, all unauthorised persons would be prevented from accessing restricted areas.

The authority also announced it would prevent unauthorised vehicles from parking in front of the terminals, decongest the airport square, as well as intensify police, military presence in all airports in the country.

Travelling through the Kotoka International Airport to Ethiopia yesterday on an official assignment, this reporter witnessed the new measures in full force.

Every passenger was screened before entering the departure hall while the presence of police and military personnel was visible.

National Security warning

Two weeks ago, Ghana's top security officials warned locals and foreign residents to be vigilant and to report any suspicious character to security agencies, as the country faces a "credible terrorist threat" after its neighbours suffered a sequence of deadly attacks.

The warning follows a high-powered meeting of security organs to review the security situation in the country following an upsurge in terrorist attacks in the West African sub-region, particularly Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire.

Parliament also met top security chiefs to discuss the country's preparedness to respond to a possible threat.

The meeting came days after a terrorist group launched an attack on neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire's three hotels in the beach resort city of Grand-Bassam, killing 16 people last Sunday, while in January a similar attack at a hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, claimed 28 lives and injured 56.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has since claimed responsibility for carrying out both attacks that reports say targeted foreign nationals.

Government urged Ghanaians and other nationals resident in the West African country to be patient with security officials as they tighten security measures at various public locations.

Though Ghana has, since the attacks in the neighbouring countries, been on high security alert, analysts have expressed doubt at the country's preparedness and ability to deal with any threat.

Defence minister, Benjamin Kunbour told local media on Wednesday that studies indicated attackers targeted public places such as hotels, restaurants and malls, as well as public places that attract foreigners.

"People need to be cautious by not giving out information to strangers; in other places you cannot go asking people to give you information just like that, but in Ghana people can even charter a taxi and take strangers to places or people they are looking for," he said.

Interior minister, Prosper Bani also told the press that "deliberate and specific" instructions have been given to hotel and restaurant managers.

Christmas Day bomber

It will be recalled that a 23-year-old Nigerian, Oumar Farouk Abdulmullabs attempted to blow up an aircraft, which was en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, USA, on Christmas Day.

Minutes before the plane, which was carrying 289 passengers and crew, could land, Abdulmullabs allegedly attempted to detonate an explosive device moulded and sewn to his underpants. Mr Abdulmutallab’s route began in Yemen, from where he travelled to Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria. 

On December 24, he flew from Lagos to Amsterdam, where he boarded the flight to Detroit. 

Mr Abdulmullabs bought his ticket with cash from KLM office in Accra eight days before the flight departed from Nigeria.

His name, according to security services, has been on a watch list of more than half a million individuals, known as Terrorist Identities Data mart Environment (Tide), but there was not enough information about his activities to place him on a watch list that would have prevented him from flying.

Source: The Finder

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