US warns citizens over possible poll violence in Ghana
The United States (US) Embassy in Accra has warned US citizens domiciled in Ghana to be cautious of their movements around the country as the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections draw nearer.
A statement issued by the embassy on Friday November 25 titled: ‘Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Safety Considerations and the Upcoming Elections’ said although the Embassy had no information regarding planned protests, it wanted to make Americans aware that social disruptions or protests could occur with little or no warning throughout Ghana.
The statement further said: “Exercise caution during the election process, particularly around polling locations in the weeks before and after the elections. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and exercise caution when in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.
“Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.”
The Embassy added that it identified the following locations in Accra as key areas where people converge to hold spontaneous political rallies and demonstrations: State House, the Ministries, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Independence Square, Mantse Agbona (James Town), Kawokudi Park, Nima Police Station Park.
It added: “Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel at night outside of major cities and are encouraged to avoid the following areas outside of Accra: Upper West: Lawra, Wa Central, Upper East: Bawku, Northern: Tolon, Sagnarigu, Yendi, Volta: Nkwanta South, Hohoe, Ho Central, Adaklu, Ketu South, Western: Jomoro, Bia West, Brong Ahafo: Techiman South, Tain, Berekum West, Berekum East, and Ashanti: Bantama, Asokwa, Nhyiaeso, Manhyia North, Manhyia South, Suame, Oforikrom, and Asawase.
“We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens travelling to or residing in Ghana enrol in the Department of State’s Smart Traveller Enrolment Program (STEP). STEP enrolment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enrol directly with the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana…”