On Thursday, the horrible news of a bus going from Accra to Tamale in northern Ghana was reported to have been robbed by gun men close to Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo region . The robbers, after having collected money, phones and jewelery, were said to have raped the passengers and, at gunpoint, forced male passengers to rape their female co-travelers. One father was said to have been forced to rape his teenage daughter with tears streaming down his face.
I was first informed through a mass email at work, later the news was all over the radio with comments from police, crime experts and upset Ghanaians – “where have we ended up?!”
Now it seems the whole mass rape story was made up. Nobody has reported such an incident, no victims have stepped forward, no evidence is available. The incident has been discussed at highest possible level in Ghana and the conclusion is the story is pure fantasy by a young woman.
What can we learn from this?
Well in my opinion, Ghana is an extremely safe and peaceful society to live in. It seems Ghanaians like to more often focus on the negatives, “armed robbers” etc. – can we learn to be more positive about Ghana? I was told recently by a friend that the rate of murders in Ghana is very low compared to almost anywhere else in the world…(source not known, anybody?)
This report by Overseas Security Advisory Council for Ghana 2010, although suggesting that Ghana is a “high crime threat country” starts its list with street crime such as pick pockets (!) and later focuses on the dangers of the Ghanaian roads. Regarding street crime, the report advices not leaving your car unlocked “even for a short period of time” (!!) About carjacking they say:
The potential for carjacking exists in Ghana, but there have been no reported occurrences over the past year.
About safety at night:
Walking alone is not advisable in downtown areas or poorly lit areas, especially at night.
There have been burglary attempts against expatriate residences in the past, but perpetrators generally lack the sophistication required to overcome home alarm systems and static security guards.
To me, that makes Ghana safer than any US state and European capital.
What did you learn?