The Government of Canada has cautioned its citizens of potential violent crimes in Ghana following the suspected kidnapping of two of its nationals in Kumasi.
In a stain on Ghana’s reputation for its hospitality and relative security, Canada’s official travel information portal sent out an alert on social media after news of the suspected kidnapping broke.
“Violent crimes, including armed robbery and kidnapping, may occur. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone or displaying signs of wealth. Ensure that windows and doors in your residence are secured,” it says on its website.
Canadian authorities say they are working with Ghana’s police and other relevant agencies in the country to find the two missing Canadian women.
Police have said the incident happened at the Kumasi Royal Gulf Club, Ahodwo around 8:25 pm on June 4, 2019.
The victims are aged 19 and 20 years old and volunteer with an NGO known as Youth Challenge International based in Ghana.
An Uber driver who came into contact with the girls shortly before they went missing has been assisting police investigations so far.
Foreign governments have warned their citizens about crimes in Ghana but this has mostly been limited to petty crime and robberies.
The US Department of State, for example, warned its citizens of violent crime in Ghana, such as street mugging in urban areas.
The UK also says: “most visits to Ghana are trouble-free, but the criminal activity does occur and can range from incidents of petty crime to opportunistic crime, to a violent crime such as robbery, burglary and serious assault that can include the use of weapons.”
But Canada’s warning of kidnapping may set a new precedent following the increased awareness of kidnapping incidents in Ghana over the last 12 months.
In April, an Indian businessman was abducted at gunpoint in Kumasi and a $500,000 demanded as ransom.
Before that, a consular-general from Estonia was also abducted while he out on his morning walk.
The highest profile kidnapping case remains the abduction of three girls from Sekondi Takoradi, which is still unresolved.
The girls, Ruth Quayson, Priscilla Blessing Bentum and Priscilla Koranchie are believed to have been kidnapped between August 2018 and December 2018.