With the incessant political activism between the government and opposition leaders in Togo, the rise of insurgency in Burkina Faso and an unpredictable security situation in Cote D'Ivoire; Ghana is considered as the safest destination for tourists among its neigbours.
However, in recent times, a steep increase in robbery and kidnapping cases seems to have dented this favourable security image of Ghana somewhat.
Last week, in Kumasi, the capital town of the Ashanti Region, two Canadian females, 19 and 20 years respectively, were kidnapped by four unknown men at a private hostel.
This incident drew the ire of the Canadian government who issued a strong statement to its citizens willing to visit Ghana.
"Violent crimes, including armed robbery and kidnapping, may occur," the Canadian government travel advisory warned.
Prior to this widely reported incident, the police and most Ghanaians are in search of three girls that were kidnapped at Takoradi, the capital town of the Western Region some months ago.
The victims, namely Ruth Love Quayson, Priscilla Blessing Bentum and Priscilla Koranchie, have been in captivity for several months.
Priscilla Blessing Bentum was first kidnapped on 17th August, 2018, while Ruthlove Quayeson was kidnapped on December 4, 2018. Priscilla Mantebeah Koranchie was also kidnapped on 21st December 2018.
Addressing a press conference to update Ghanaians and the families of the kidnapped girls, the Director-General of the CID, COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, indicated that the police had located the whereabouts of the girls but did not disclose the exact location for security reasons.
But later reports debunked that assertion and COP Maame Addo-Danquah admitted that she made that claim to calm the families of the girls and that they still haven't located their whereabouts.
Though the 28-year-old Nigerian, Udoetuk-Wills, who has been accused of kidnapping the three girls in Sekondi/Takoradi, was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment for escaping from lawful custody and causing damage to public property; he is yet to release information on the whereabouts of the girls.
In April 2019, an Indian businessman was also kidnapped by unknown persons in Kumasi.
According to some eyewitnesses, Umpakan Chodri was forcibly taken and pushed into a vehicle around Ahodwo, a suburb of Kumasi.
Though the victim was rescued some days later, the police said the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $500,000 from his brother and assaulted the victim.
Upon a tipoff, the SWAT team from the Ghana Police Service rescued a 61-year-old, a Lebanese Consular General and Head of Mission of Estonia to Ghana, Nabil Makram Basbous from some Nigerian kidnappers at Lashibi, a suburb of Accra in April.
He narrated to the police that he went out for a walk within his neighbourhood, 10 minutes into the walk, a white Hyundai Elantra private car pulled up in front of him.
One of the occupants came out, pulled a pistol on him and ordered him to enter the car or risk being shot if he resists.
According to security experts, these recent incidents puts a dent on Ghana's image as an attractive tourism destination as well.
Tourism plays a big role in Ghana's economy, making up some five percent of GDP. But for international relations and security expert, Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, these kidnappings are to do with ransoms other than terrorism.
"Everyone is a target -- but foreigners are becoming the main focus because they get more attention," he said.
Many pundits also believe this rise in crimes in the country should be attributed to the influx of Nigerians in the country. They believe most of the kidnapping cases have Nigerians behind them because it is common in their country.
In a succinct agreement to this assertion, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was quoted as saying, "Our brothers and sisters in Nigeria have known it".
"But we have not known it in this country, and we need to do something about it, to make sure that it doesn't become a feature of our society."
Though it is refreshing that the two Canadian girls have been rescued today by a team of security experts from Canada and the Ghana Police, it will take a very concerted effort by security chiefs to bring the situation under control.