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General News of Saturday, 27 January 2018

Source: ghanaguardian.com

GITMO 2: Mahama’s Interior Ministry didn't allow resettlement – Kweku Baako

Kweku Baako Kweku Baako

It has emerged that a former Deputy Interior Minister serving under former President Mahama, wrote letters to warn the government against the resettlement of the two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees.

James Agalga is said to have written at least three letters to strongly oppose the resettlement of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby in Ghana.

Veteran journalist, Kweku Baako made the above disclosure on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile on Saturday.

According to documents he said were available to him, the negotiations to host the two persons considered “low risk” by the US government in Ghana started in 2014.

The two arrived in Ghana January 2016 under a controversial arrangement between the governments of Ghana and United States of America, which expired on January 6, 2018.

Diplomatically Decline

Kweku Baako read out one of the letters, purported to have been written by the then deputy minister on August 19, 2014, on behalf of the sector minister, cautioning the government against the move.

He said, James Agalga raised issues concerning national security, political indecision among others as he asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to “diplomatically decline” the acceptance of the ex-detainees who had spent 14 years under US captivity.

Civil society and religious groups had raised similar concerns when the two were brought in, two years later.

Security Implication

“The Ministry of Interior appreciates the move by the United States of America government to resettle the Guantanamo detainees in a third country, but I humbly proposed that Ghana is currently not in position to receive the detainees in view of the crucial economic situation that Ghana finds itself in.

“Besides, the resettlement of the detainees will have political as well as security implication for Ghana,” the letter James Agalga wrote to the Foreign Affairs Minister said in part.

The then deputy minister’s views were however not taken and the two were accepted into the country for a two-year period in an agreement Ghana’s Supreme Court later considered unconstitutional. The new government under Nana Akufo-Addo was therefore compelled to send the agreement to Parliament for ratification.

Change of Names

Meanwhile, Kweku Baako has also revealed that the names of the ex-detainees who were given a refugee status in 2016 by the Ghana Refugee Board have been changed.

He would, however, not divulge the names that they are currently using, indicating that the change was done “for a good reason”.

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has attested that the two have comported themselves well for the past two years that they have been in Ghana

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