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General News of Friday, 20 December 2019


GhanaWeb Top Story of the Year

2 Canadian women who were rescued play video2 Canadian women who were rescued

From start to finish, many of this year’s biggest news stories were centered around crime, political violence and confusion that characterized the free education system.

The year 2019 began with the prime objective of security chiefs finding antidotes to an upsurge in acts of kidnapping and abduction; posing a major threat to Ghana’s national security.

But there were moments of inspiration, too.

It was all joy and ecstasy among the Ghanaian populace who were growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of efforts by the security operatives to tackle the dramatic increase of kidnapping in the country when the two Canadians were rescued.

The shocking piece of news became the talk of the town, as lots of GhanaWeb readers took to our social media handles to share their views on the disturbing story.

2 Canadian women rescued, 8 in custody after raid

Lauren Tilley and Bailey Chitty, who were students of New Brunswick University in Toronto, Canada, were abducted on June 4, 2019 while volunteering with a non-governmental organization (NGO) in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.

Tilley, 19, and Chitty, 20, had been abducted at the Kumasi Royal Golf Club at 8:25 p.m. local time on June 4, a press statement by the Ghana Police Service said at the time.

Tilley is originally from Rothesay, N. B., a community in the suburb of Saint John. Chitty is from Amherst, N.S., a town that borders New Brunswick.

It was reported that security officers of the Ghana Police Service surrounded the location where the women were held hostage just before 5 a.m. local time. By 5:15 a.m., the team had "breached the premises" leading to a gun battle between security operatives and the notorious gang of kidnappers.

Five Ghanaians and three Nigerians were taken into custody. One of the suspects sustained minor injuries.

Information Minister, Mr. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah said an ongoing interrogation process will determine whether more arrests would be made.

He also indicated that one of the suspects might be linked to a separate kidnapping case involving multiple Ghanaian girls.

No ransom was paid

The ministry said no ransom was paid despite prior discussion between the suspects and security agents in Ghana in the case of Tilley and Chitty, and there was no foreign involvement in the operation.

"A Canadian team was in town to explore ways in which they could help, but that was not necessary," Oppong-Nkrumah said. "Our people on the ground have clarity on what to do. And the result is what you see currently."

Canadian politicians react to kidnapping

Political leaders in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were relieved Wednesday, June 12, 2019 to learn Tilley and Chitty were found safe and unharmed.

Amherst Mayor David Kogon said "there are an awful lot of relieved people in the Amherst area."

"I just can't imagine the angst and now the relief that she's been rescued ... it's just not something you hear about in Amherst."

Although Kogon hasn't spoken directly with Chitty or her family, he said the town is grateful for authorities involved in her rescue.

"Unfortunately, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Health Minister and PC MLA Ted Flemming said Tilley resides in his riding of Rothesay.

"Who could be anything but fabulously relieved that she's been rescued?" he said. "It's a wonderful story, it's international."

Inside New Brunswick's Legislative Assembly, Green Party Leader David Coon became emotional while congratulating Ghana officials for their efforts in rescuing the two women.

"A lot of prayers have been said over the past week for these two young women and their families, today they were answered," Coon said.

CBC News also asked for an interview with UNB, which wouldn't comment about last week's kidnapping.

"The university will not be issuing anything publicly about this situation, and we ask our community to do the same," said university spokesperson Natasha Ashfield in an emailed statement.

"Even though we're incredibly pleased to see a successful resolution, we need to respect the privacy of our students and their families."

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