These concerns were heightened when an investigative report by popular local radio station Starr FM reported that ISIS agents in Ghana are enticing unemployed youths with promises of cash and a gateway to heaven. “They are promised an initial spending fee and a luxurious life before they travel to Syria and Iraq. Their immediate families are assured quality life after they have left, so many of the young guys are considering it, especially in the Zongos (a slang term for neighbourhoods populated by majority northern Ghanaian Muslims),” it quoted an interviewee as saying.
Twenty-five year old Nazir Alema Nortey, a graduate of one of Ghana’s leading universities sent a WhatsApp message to his family telling them he left the country earlier this month to join the Islamic extremist group, leaving behind a devastated family. The University Of Science and Technology graduate, is described by his father as a gentle, well-mannered man. Nortey was an active student on campus and showed no signs of being radicalised. He had a girlfriend. He was an ordinary man.
Sketchy details of a second recruit, identified only as Rafiq also emerged this week at an official media briefing but there are already unconfirmed reports of a third—a young woman whose name has been given as Shakira Mohammed.
“Anyone is a potential recruit,” National Security Co-ordinator, Mr Yaw Donkor, told reporters at the briefing. Donkor said would-be members were being headhunted from mainly tertiary institutions in Ghana where students were drafted into WhatsApp and Facebook social media forums in which radical discourse and indoctrination took place.
It is important not to overstate the problem. So far this is a tiny handful of people in a nation of 26 million. But for the majority of Ghanaians their decision to join ISIS should set alarm bells ringing.The question that needs answering is: how far will they go?
Available at: http://www.thejournalist.org.za/spotlight/opinion-isis-west-africas-vulnerable-youth