Fifteen years ago, I witnessed for the first time in my life, an act of terrorism. Although I didn’t understand why it happened because I was very young, I remember seeing many people in grief and a city brought to its feet. A simple calculation of 15 years back will bring memories of horror and the major reason the United States of America waged war on terror. So many years down the line, the fight is still on with different strategies. What seemed to be something distant from my homeland is now knocking on our doors.
Just recently, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb has taken responsibility for bombing in the capital of Burkina Faso, a neighbor we share a porous border with. Our President’s decision to accept two ex-Guantanamo detainees has sparked a national debate on terrorism for the past two weeks. There are reports that the Security heads are meeting key persons in the tourism and public service agencies to put in place measures to prevent unforeseen events in these trying times. I believe our security heads are on top of it but we must be mindful that if an insect will get the opportunity to bite you, it will be in your clothe.
With how terrorism now works and judging from recent attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso not forgetting the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, we must worry more about extremists recruiting the youth. Just last year, a Ghanaian graduate from KNUST reportedly joined ISIS and there are reports of two others who might have been recruited. What are we doing to prevent this trend which is eating into our country silently? Is there anything we can do on the internet and on social media? Are there campaigns in the pipeline?
Scholars like Mustapha Hamid have shown to have adequate knowledge on the topic and such people should be given the platform to educate the public and collaborate with the state to find a way to maintain the peace and harmony we enjoy as a nation. But while we wait for the “big men” to lead the way, we can’t just sit idle. After all, the devil finds work for the idle mind. Here are some ways to protect your loved ones and yourself from being radicalized recommended by a US Navy Admin. Mike Rogers.
Be aware of their friends. You should know more about the friends they roll out with especially if they are new and start to spend more time with new group of friends. If their friends become radicalized, they are more likely to get influenced by them.
Watch out for radicalized behavior. Like a disease, extremism comes with signs and symptoms you should look out for. Keep your eyes open.
Watch for changes in routine.
Get more information on the subject and talk to them about extremism.