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HOW TO Guide

Security alerts and advisories


The goal of this How To page is to bring the expatriate community relevant and confirmed alerts and advisories on security in Ghana.

For general security recommendations, please refer to the "How To with security measures (with taxis or in a car)" and  "How To with security measures (stand-alone houses)" pages.

Your inputs are highly welcomed and may be published after due dilligence. Do not hesitate to write to editor@accraexpat.com.
Your feedback and comments are also highly appreciated. Please write to feedback@accraexpat.com.

ACCRA POLICE NUMBERS
191(ALL NETWORKS)
18555(VODAFONE AND MTN)

EMERGENCY CONTROL ROOM - 0302 773 906 OR 0302 787 373
See the Ghana Police Service page on Facebook.



REPEATED SECURITY INCIDENTS
Snatching bags
At any time of the day, you walk alone or in a group and two men on a motorbike either cut or rip your bag from your shoulder as they drive by.
To do:
- walk away from the road side when possible and keep your back on the opposite side in a way that makes it difficult to be grabbed,
- in quiet areas, keep alert of your surroundings and notice of men on bikes pass by you more than once to check you and your group. They may also stop close in front of you, supposedly to fix something in the bike and aggress you when you pass by,
- do not take walks at night in general.
At parking lots
As you are back at your car, a group of people come and try to confuse you with questions and one will try to snatch your belongings.
To do: do not talk to strangers or let them get close to you.

REPEATED SCAMS
Requests for money for medical reasons

For years in Accra, there has been a man dressed smartly with good English, believed to be a Francophone, explaining he needs his insulin pen and asking for money.
To do: do not give money. Do not offer to drive him to the hospital as he will leave once there.


SEPTEMBER 2017 - ADVISORY
Several cases of mugging and smash&grab were reported in Spintex and Tema: theft of purses through open taxi windows or from pedestrians. In Tema, a few cars blocked a taxi and laptop, cash, keys where taken at gunpoint. Cases happen mostly in the dark hours of evenings.

AUGUST 2017 - ALERT
The American Embassy in Accra issued a security message about growing crime rates in certain areas of Accra. Read details here.

FEBRUARY 2017 - ADVISORY
Near the British High Commission and the day before near Ako Adjei interchange, motorcyclist used spikes on the road to stop cars by puncturing the tyres. Apparently the first victims drove on to safety; the second attack ended less fortunate. CD plate cars seem to be specific targets.

JANUARY 2017 - ADVISORY
Two Dutch embassy personnel were violently robbed at gunpoint when returning home from dinner in Osu. Motorcylists forcibly followed them into their compound at 9th Avenue.

AUGUST 2016 - ADVISORY - from a 25-years-old Dutch woman doing a three-month internship
"On Friday night me and 2 friends were walking in a street next to Oxford street (Osu, Accra), the one after Kona, when 3 guys followed us, we wanted to walk back to Oxford street since there where more people around there, and the 3 guys came towards us and grabbed my friend's hand to feel if he had anything in his pockets. When he noticed I had a bag, he started pulling the bag and the cord snapped and they run off. But no one got hurt."

JANUARY 2015 - ADVISORY
An Indian national, a resident of 15 years who started his career with Melcom, was shot dead while returning to Kumasi in a truck mounted with bore hole equipment. Between Kintampo and Kumasi near a town called Jena, the truck was intercepted by armed robbers at 9:30pm. The driver was spared and is in custody of the Police. The deceased is survived by his wife and two children who flew to Ghana immediately upon receipt of the news.

DECEMBER 2014 - HOLIDAYS ALERT
Each year, December is a month where insecurity incidents are rising so additional attention is required.

Alan Beales from the International Spouses Association of Ghana has brought the following to our attention.
“A foreigner went to Ghana Revenue Authority to verify her Tax Identification Number (TIN). When the officer brought up her name, there were multiple registrations all showing her passport as the document of identity, but linked to various trading enterprises dotted around Accra. Clearly she could become liable for the taxes of those companies. People need to be very careful who has access to their passport or any other form of identity.”

NOVEMBER 2014 - ADVISORY
“In a traffic jam in the evening at Airport Residential, I saw two men on a motorbike snatched the telephone of another person via the open car window while he was making a phone call.”

JULY 2014 - ADVISORY - KOTOKA AIRPORT
1/2
“I had a weird security check up on Feb this year 2014. The security open my walet and found 120 cedis in my wallet and they said that i can only bring 100 cedis out of Ghana.. But my husband is a diplomat and we had argument and at last, they didn't take my money.“
2/2
“Be careful with your monies when going through security check point at Kotoka airport. I have got monies picked from my wallet that was inside my backpack yesterday when checked through security point. Somehow they quickly picked all the monies and placed the wallet back. Unfortunately, just noticed that when reached my destination in Cotonou”

MAY 2014 - ADVISORY
“My two female friends and I picked a taxi that was confidently waiting outside Accra Mall around 11:50pm after a trip to the cinema. We negotiated fee and as my two friends entered the back, I sat in the front. We dropped one girl off in Labone and continued our journey to Osu, ako Adjei park area (not sure of spelling) The driver was driving very slowly and stopped the taxi in a very dark area close to my house. All of a sudden a man that had been hiding in the boot he whole journey pushed down the back seats and grabbed my friends bag. The taxi driver then shouted 'give me your phone' I tried to escape but the door was locked and broken therefore I couldn't get out. He began to use his fists and elbows until I let go of my bag. I looked back at my friend who had managed to open her door and I wound down my window and jumped out! It all happened very fast. They had taken everyhting! Money, phones, cameras, laptop. We are very grateful to get away with just a few cuts and bruises, but I really want to spread the word! This was an organised robbery!”

NOTE: due to unregular sources late 2013, many incidents have not been reported.

AUGUST 2013 -
ADVISORY
Four suspected armed robbers who allegedly raped and robbed an Italian woman at gunpoint at a restaurant at Aburi on Thursday have been busted. They were said to have inflicted machete wounds on other customers at the restaurant. The suspects were part of a gang of eight who allegedly used pistols and a machete to attack Sandra S., 22, and other customers late morning at the Sweet Mother Restaurant, near the Adonten Senior High School in Aburi.

AUGUST 2013 - ALERT
Expatriates are advised of a potential increase in political tensions and the possibility of isolated violence with regards to the anticipated August 29 announcement of the Ghanaian Supreme Court’s decision about Ghana’s December 2012 election results, and to avoid any related locations and rallies/demonstrations.

FEB 2013 - ADVISORY
During the first two days of February, three expatriates have been attacked by robbers who have been since arrested.
- The first victim, a Spanish national, was attacked by the two men on motorbikes as she stopped her car in front of her residence in Dzorwulu at about midnight. She was robbed and shot and had to be evacuated to Spain for medical treatment.
- The same gang robbed a Forex Bureau in Dzorwulu, making away with a laptop computer, a mobile phone and cash amounting about $110,000. An Egyptian diplomat transacting business at that moment was also robbed and shot.
- At about 9:30 pm, the two robbed and shot a German national on his right shoulder through his vehicle’s windscreen at Haatso Block Factory near ECOMOG Road (northeast of University of Legon) while robbing him of an amount of GHS 200, an IPad phone and a wristwatch.

DEC 2012 - ADVISORY
On December 7 in Osu at 3am in a dead-end street off 11th Street (street of the old US Embassy/Supreme/Firefly), two Korean nationals, in a private car, had left a nightclub in Osu and taken the wrong turn which led them to a dead end. While attempting to turn around two individuals on a motorbike drew alongside. The motorbike pillion rider dismounted and opened the driver’s door. He tried to take the keys and personal items. The driver of the vehicle received cutlass wounds while struggling with the attacker.

NOV 2012 - ADVISORY
There have been three known cases in November where expats have been robbed at the gates to their accommodation.

The first incident involved a young expatriate lady who was robbed in the early hours of Sunday 4th November. While returning via taxi to her residence in Kokomemle she was confronted by three armed robbers. At least one had a gun and another was in possession of a machete. They were not wearing masks and spoke in pidgin English. The attack was nonviolent and took place very quickly. The victim lost phone, purse and personal items.
The second incident took place on the 15th November at approximately 23.00. The victim was a Korean national who was attacked when returning to his residence at community 12- Tema. When he arrived home, he found his gate locked and  therefore blew the horn for assistance but received no response from the house help. He then got out of his car to try and open the gate himself. When he got returned to his car seat, he was immediately pulled out by one of three assailants. He was unsure what weapons they were in possession of. The second man stood next to the vehicle and the third remained in the driver’s seat of a red and yellow taxi. When a member of the house realized what was going on and began shouting at the attackers, they drove off in the taxi and the victims car which  contained his phone wallet and cash.  The victim was able to remember the number plate of the taxi which he has passed onto the Police when submitting his statement. However the Police response has been limited at present.
The third incident took place at a guest house in Osu also on 4th November. In this instance the victim was travelling home by taxi and was followed by a man on a motorbike. She went into her compound to get money to pay for the taxi and when returning to make payment she was attacked. Unfortunately she was struck by the machete numerous times and required a number of stiches.  

APR 2012 - ADVISORY
See our new post on 419 and Internet scams.

DEC 2011- ADVISORY
Date rape drug

There have sadly been a couple of recent incidents in Accra over the Christmas vacation in the Osu area where women have been spiked with the "date rape" drug. Be vigilant and aware of the precautions to take:
1. Do not accept drinks from strangers
2. Do not leave drinks unattended
3. If possible, drink out of bottles in crowded bar venues.

SEPT 2011 - ADVISORY
Pickpockets
There are renewed reports from foreign trotro passengers who have been victims of pickpockets while travelling around Accra with this popular mean of transportation. Always keep your cash and other valuables away from your pants or shorts front pockets and be especially aware when the passenger next to you drops something on the floor and asks you to pick it up. Do not and immediately verify and secure your pockets and bags. Should you notice a theft, alert passengers and trotro staff before the next stop. 

JULY 2011 - ADVISORY
Suhum area of the Accra Kumasi Highway
It has been reported in the media that the Suhum area of the Accra Kumasi Highway is increasingly becoming a favourite area for robbers to operate in. The road in this area is undergoing very large repairs and upgrades, causing personal and commercial vehicles, including buses. to travel very slowly, particularly at night or in foul weather.
You are advised to avoid this area if reasonable/possible or take the Aburi/Koforidua detour until work is completed. If you still must travel this stretch of road, ensure you keep valuable possessions out of sight, do not display or wear expensive items, keep your windows up and doors locked at all times

26 July - Smash and Grab - North Ridge
While attending a get-together at a North American diplomat’s home in North Ridge, a diplomat was the victim of a smash and grab (break in to a car). Various personal valuables that were left in plain sight for the perpetrators to target were reported stolen. There have been and continue to be numerous similar incidents throughout the more affluent areas of Accra. Complacency (valuable items being left in plain sight) and parking in poorly lit and travelled areas are the factors resulting in the thefts.

17 July – Multiple assault - Airport Residential Area
Around noon, secretaries of the Japanese Embassy witnessed two robberies on bike in Airport Residential Area.
First case: a white male was slashed with a knife and wounded in his back at the crossroad near the Airport View Hotel.
Second case: a white male was chased by a robber on bike and escaped into Alema Court.
There is an increased incidence of this type of crime in Accra.  You are advised to walk in groups or in a closed and locked vehicle whenever possible.

JUNE 2011 - SECURITY ADVISORY
06 June - Snatch and grab robbery - Accra
At approximately 23:30, a US Embassy family member was robbed in front of their Embassy residence by two men on a motorcycle. No weapons were used in the incident. The victim was exiting a car that had two other Embassy family members in it. The car dropped off the victim in front of their residence but outside of their gated driveway. The local guard at the residence saw the incident but was unable to respond in time to assist against the attack. The victim sustained no injuries, but was dragged a short distance while trying to resist. Assailants were successful in obtaining the victim's personal belongings.

APRIL & MAY 2011 - ADVISORY
The following reports highlight the importance of being aware of your surrounding, of minimizing travel alone, particularly on foot, of not being on the streets alone during night hours and of surrendering your property if confronted by threats or actual force on the part of your assailant(s). The robbers in these cases targeted the victims on the basis of what they perceived to be their wealth or their possession of attractive items (laptop case/jewellery, etc).

Two of these reports must serve as reminder to all parents and teenagers that Osu is not an area for under-18 expatriates, including international school students, to be late at night, mostly on week-ends. Private cars with drivers should be used and drivers should drop/pick them at the venue entrance. Expatriates must refrain from provocative behaviour, learn to identify inebriated clients and stay away from any potentially violent situation. Commuting from bar to bar should not be done on foot.
You may also read our related Resource page "How To party safely".

22 April – Robbery - Osu
Three expat-teenagers left a popular bar/restaurant of Osu, shortly after midnight. The establishment is frequented by many young people from international schools in Accra. To the car, it was about 30 meters by foot. One of the teenagers got surrounded by five young locals and forced - with a gun pointed to his head - to hand over all his money. Hundreds of people were in the street, no one responded.

02 May - Attempted robbery - Ridge
Immediately outside the Canadian High Commission gate in Accra, a visitor who arrived prior to daylight hours was accosted by two local males who arrived on a motorcycle and who attempted to rob the client of a laptop case, which in fact contained his personal effects rather than a laptop. A machete was brandished and used toward the client during this incident. However; the client was fortunate enough to have not lost his effects or been injured, as security were able to scare the robbers away. This was the second incident of this nature in the vicinity of the Canadian High Commission in the past few months.

07 May – Multiple assault - Osu
At around 2am in a popular bar/restaurant of Osu, a regular but inebriated customer was asked to leave the premises and was shown disrespect by a few patrons. The customer returned shortly with an axe and a knife and assaulted those patrons when they exited the establishment. He then entered without being stopped by security and assaulted more patrons before being subdued. Several people suffered injuries.

09 May - Robbery - Ridge
Three men waiting at the Ghana Broadcasting Corp trotro stop on Ring Road were confronted by two assailants on a motorcycle, armed with machete. During this incident, one of the men was robbed and the other two escaped.  There was also another similar incident near the African Royal Beach hotel, Teshie Nungua Estates, on 11 May 2011.

24 May - Burglary - Labone
A US Embassy employee was the victim of a smash and grab (break in to a car) in front of a high-end restaurant in Labone. That same evening, there were five reported smash and grabs. Various personal belongings were reported stolen. Complacency and parking in poorly lit areas are the factors resulting in the thefts. Indeed, the main issue leading to these incidents were valuable items being left in plain sight in an area where there was a reasonable opportunity for the thieves to be able to break in undetected. Remember to leave such items at home or secure them out of sight and to park in well lit and travelled areas.

29 MARCH 2011 - ALERT
Violence in Tamale
As President Mills was ending a visit in Northern Ghana, violence erupted in Tamale, northern Ghana on Tuesday 29 March 2011. The hostility emanates from a court ruling that resulted in the release of 14 persons who were being tried for the killing of the overlord of Dagbon, Yaa Naa Yakubu II. The court’s decision seemed to have fuelled discontent among members of the Andani Royal Gate.

Confirmed reports are that the Northern Regional Constituency Office of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was burnt during the fracas and that there is rising tension in Tamale Metropolis. Unconfirmed reports are that one person was killed and that there are threats of more devastating action by factions affected by the Court’s decision.
President Mills gave an audience to representatives of the two parties, the Adubus and the Andanis and the government recently held a high level discussion on the matter. Interim measures include strong security presence in the area as well as the imposition of a curfew.
Any travel to Tamale should be avoided at this time.

UPDATE
The curfew imposed on March 29 has been lifted on April 5.
The Government has appealed the court decision.
President Mills maintains his plans for an upcoming trip to the North. 
RELATED UPDATE
The Ministry of the Interior has on the advice of the Northern and Upper East Regional Security Councils renewed the curfews imposed on the Bawku municipality and Gushegu Townships as well as its environs. The new curfews are on from April 11 from 11pm to 4am. These curfews are maintained as of 31 May 2011.
UPDATE - 30 June 2011
Years after the December 2007 tribal shootings that resulted in several security measures in Bawku, the long standing curfew has been lifted late this month.

Background
This occurring in Tamale and others in the area in 2010 are part of an ongoing cycle of chieftaincy-related conflicts in northern Ghana, especially in the Bawku (Dagbon- stemming from the murder of the Ya-Na in 2002) and Yendi districts. Despite its steady development, Ghana continues to face social and political tensions, chieftaincy and land conflicts because of perceived ethnic, geographic and political discrimination. With the 2012 elections fast-approaching, tensions are rising in numerous communities, especially where political parties are traditionally and financially tied to feuding ethnic groups.

23 FEBRUARY 2011 - ADVISORY
Car break-in
During the afternoon of Wednesday, February 23rd, an American Embassy employee had his bag/briefcase containing personal belongings stolen out of their vehicle. Access was gained by pushing in the lock on the rear door of the SUV, and then manipulating the lever of the locking mechanism. The vehicle was parked in the vicinity of Pippa’s Gym branch in Ringway Estates, Osu.

20 JANUARY 2011 - ADVISORY
Accident scam
The old ‘accident scam’ has resurfaced. It is currently prevalent in Accra Central around Tudu, Ministries and Novotel in slow moving traffic. Two victims were encountered today next to Novotel. They had fallen for the trick within 15 minutes of each other apparently by the same person (an elderly woman).

In this scam, a pedestrian or bicyclist bangs the side or wing mirror of your car when you are not looking and pretends that you hit them and asks for money for first aid.   In a variant of this scam, when you get out of the car to attend to the “injured” person, his associates will take advantage of the distraction to steal your valuables.

If you suspect a scam, do not stop and do not unlock your car doors (vehicle doors should always be locked).

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