West Africa has been increasingly recognised as meriting special counter terrorism attention. This attention is emphasised by the fact that in recent years, terrorist activities in countries such as Mali, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Burkina Faso have resulted in the loss of millions of lives and significant destruction of property. These terrorists such as Ansar Dine, Boko Haram, AQIM, MUJAO, and Ansaru apply all forms of violent acts to drum home their ideals. Further complicating the security landscape is the increased influence by transnational violent extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The transnational nature of terrorism makes all West African Countries including Ghana susceptible to terrorist attacks.Seeing, Ghana's neighbours experience attacks raises questions about the Country's preparedness to prevent acts of terror. Although Ghana has some counter terrorism measures ranging from legislation to formation of combat units, the threat of terrorism is still rife and growing steadily due to certain key factors. A study of her neighbours thus gives the Country a clue to the enabling factors of terrorism. One key factor is poverty and it is evidenced in the circumstances surrounding the emer- gence of Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria due to perceived socio-economic injustice. Ghana therefore needs to compliment her effort at reducing poverty by focusing on building entrepreneurial skills of the youth, support and nurture their ideas. The possibility of Ghana's Islamic community getting infiltrated with jihadist ideology is also a key factor of importance. This ideology aims at inspiring and inciting Islamic movements and muslim masses worldwide to attack those who threaten Islam and muslims. Such acts will require a counter ideological response which discredits deviant teachings of extremists. Islamic scholars and teachers of good moral credentials could be employed to offer mass counter terrorism counselling and teachings at various Islamic schools and mosques. Civil disorder and ethnic tensions are also enabling factors that threaten Ghana's fight against terrorism. Judging from recent violent crimes, ethnic conflicts and forecast of the upcoming general elections, Ghana's vulnerability to the threat of terrorism is increasing. The Country thus requires a focus on promoting tolerance amongst groups and organisations. The ramifications of a terrorist attack on Ghana could be dire. Apart from loss of lives, destruction of properties and displacement of persons, it can harm access to basic education services and public health services. The impact can also be felt through decline in foreign direct investment. One proposed counter
terrorism measure Ghana could adopt is the building of social resistance to terrorism through formation of 'harmony circles' in public institutions. It entails inter-religious and inter-ethnic groupings that guard each other against the attack of terrorists. Another key counter terrorism measure is to encourage the formation of safety and security watch groups particularly at public, commercial and industrial centres. This affords authorities easy identification of suspects.
Lastly, the need to constantly create awareness is paramount in the fight against terrorism. The public needs to know who terrorists are, their modus operandi and the impact they seek to lay on the citizenry. If all the enumerated measures and already instituted ones are adhered to and applied judiciously, Ghana can maintain resilience against external and internal terror threats.