by Alex Osei-Boateng
ACCRA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ghana will hold a multi-agency simulation exercise to assess the country's counter-terrorism preparedness and capabilities, a senior security official said here Tuesday.
Police Commissioner George Asiamah, who is also director of counter- terrorism at the Ministry of National Security, said the exercise, scheduled for Nov. 25, will be a form of rehearsal to sharpen security agencies' capability to respond to terror attacks and recover from them.
Although Ghana has not directly experienced an attack on home soil, Asiamah said, regional, global trends and recent incidents in neighboring countries give serious cause for concern and the threats have necessitated the need for a holistic approach to preventing acts of terrorism in Ghana.
He said the security agencies have embarked on a sensitization program to educate the public and also to involve the responding agencies in regular capacity-building sessions, including strategies beyond conventional warfare to make Ghana combat-ready and ever-prepared to fight terrorist threats.
Asiamah stressed the need for security agencies to better manage intelligence and facilitate effective communication between responding agencies, the public and the media in the event of an attack or possible attack.
"We need to build and sustain a community of counter-terrorism professionals through multi-disciplinary training and refresher courses periodically to sustain our alertness," he said.
The coordinator of the upcoming simulation exercise, code-named "Exercise Home Shield," Lt. Col. Danso Ankrah, called on the media to play a leading role in counter-terrorism awareness among the public.
A key manifestation of contemporary terrorism in west Africa has been its transnational nature, whereby an attack executed in one location may be premeditated in another.
There have been major attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire.
Terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have sought to extend their operational theaters and spheres of influence in the region, focusing recent attacks on "soft targets" to cause extensive civilian casualties, perpetrate fear and grab attention.