Kidnapping in Ghana has raised its ugly head in 2019 and has continued without any concrete solution. The kidnapping of three ladies at different times in Ghana in Takoradi sent shivers down the spine of Ghana. This made the police and other security agencies wake up and the government began to do something about it.
The U.S Department of State revealed that Mexico alone suffered close to105, 682 kidnappings in just 2012. It is believed that over 275 children between the ages of 16 and 18 years were kidnapped in the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping by Boko Haram. Ghana has started counting her loss as young girls, ladies, and children are getting kidnapped in recent times. Ghana needs to step up the crusade and hunt for kidnappers until we win the fight.
What is kidnapping?
Kidnapping is the act of abducting or seizing or capturing someone and holding him or her captive against the law, and the will of the person.
The kidnapping leads to the violation of the right of the kidnapped person and prevents him or her or them from enjoying basic rights such as the right to free movement, making choices as to where he or she wants to be.
It is a crime to kidnap anyone for any reason. Kidnappers often grab their victims on the street and at places where the victim has less chance to overcome the attack.
While people are kidnapped and killed for rituals, blood money and other evil motives, others are kidnapped, raped, killed and dumped on the streets. Others are never heard of or seen again when kidnapped and chances that the kidnapper will be found is slime most of the time.
Such an act stresses the kidnapped and leads to health, mental and psychological implications alongside other abuses. Statistics show that 74% of children ever kidnapped were killed within the first 3 hours. This is alarming and Ghana needs to do something about the worrying social issue.
Types of Kidnapping
Kidnapping has been categorized into three distinct groups or types
- Family Kidnapping has to do with kidnapping by a relative or a parent. Very often when parents are separated, one may kidnap the child at home, in town and very often at school.
- In other instances, one’s acquaintance(s) or friend (s) can kidnap. This is mostly suffered by females in their teens yet males also suffer it.
- The final group of kidnapping is done by strangers which is the type we seem to be suffering in Ghana today. Such a kidnap makes children, women and other vulnerable persons face real danger because one cannot know the reasons for the abduction nor the person kidnapping him or her. Females again suffer this more than males.
Common Lures Utilized by kidnappers
- Some kidnappers offer children or their victims a ride in their car, others get close to the children and ask them questions and while the child is trying to sincerely answer he or she is kidnapped.
- In some instances, children have been handed candy or money and kidnapped in the process. Some kidnappers also use other material things like mobile phones, pets, toys and anything that may be of interest to the child to get him or her easily.
Today, kidnapping has become a major public issue in Ghana and many have called on the police to up their game to help arrest the kidnappers. However, Ghanaians are yet to hear of any positive feedback from the Ghana police who are right lip to ensure they do not give out important security details until they nab the perpetrators.
But the citizens cannot be left on their own at this time when it has become scary to live in Ghana for fear of been kidnapped. Sadly, kidnappers have targeted women and children who are all vulnerable in society. This social issue has caught the attention of Human Rights Reporters Ghana an NGO championing human right issues in Ghana to sensitize school children and the general public on the activities of kidnappers. The hope is that this information will go a long way to help educate, inform and arm the public with strategies to help foil such attempts.
The Human rights reporters Ghana has embarked on sensitization program and have educated over 1000 school children during the pilot project termed KTT so far to ensure children are armed with the relevant information to stay safe.
Reasons why people are kidnapped
Several reasons account for the kidnapping of ignorant citizens and vulnerable people around the world and Ghana is no exception. The major factors include
Unemployment plays a crucial role in the thought and planning of kidnapping operations by the perpetrators. Unemployed youth may sometime engage in such acts by abducting children from rich homes and ask for huge ransoms in exchange for the release of such kids.
When poverty becomes so stressful and people cannot hold back the desire to make a living, they can be compelled to engage in such activities. It is sad to say that, most often kidnappers are persons in the low-income bracket. They believe such an act will fetch them money.
Illiteracy they say is a disease. People who do not know the dangers of their decision to kidnap or know but ignore the consequences go all out to abduct innocent people for many reasons.
Greed is another contributor to kidnapping. There are people who seem to want everything in the world. They are never content with what they have and so, may be hired to engage in such activities. Dues to the huge sum of money promised them, they will risk their lives and kidnap so as to be paid the cash promised.
Politics and politicians
Politics and politicians are also reasons why people kidnap. Some kidnap opponents, some also kidnap citizens for rituals so as to be able to win a certain election and to gain more power. Corruption has also been linked to kidnapping in some instances where citizens kidnap politicians accused of embezzlement of public funds. These and many other reasons account for kidnappings across the world.
Phases of a kidnapping
Kidnapping goes through several phases and knowing them can make you alert, and safe to some extent. Kidnapping according to research goes through three (2) phases. These are the Target selection phase, Surveillance Phase and the Abduction or actual kidnap phase.
Target selection phase
Everyone is a target for abduction. Yes, that is the gospel truth. The question is how can we as individuals avoid it. No one wants to be a target hence we have to act.
Today, some Ghanaians virtually live their lives on social media, they post almost everything throughout the day onto Facebook, WhatsApp and the like. We all have thousands of friends many of whom we don’t know. It is time we all reduce the volume of personal information we share on social media platforms.
Do your homework well my dear reader, share less, stay safe and don’t be a target.
Many of us are never aware of the environment in which we live nor find ourselves. To remain safe and avoid being a target, do a situational analysis of your environment. Be smart and look out for things that are not ordinarily within the environments. Note that in the ‘absence of the normal, there is surely the presence of the abnormal’.
Use your intuition and if you feel something is not right, start taking the necessary action. Raise an alarm if you have to, try and leave the scene.
Have one or two phone numbers set on auto call so that, by just pressing and holding 1, 2 or 3 on your phone, you can make a quick call. Even if the person fails to pick or picks only to hear you screaming, action can be taken someway somehow.
Keep a low profile, vary your routes to school, work, and other events and do not discuss personal issues with persons you don’t know too well. Reduce your online footprint. Very often, kidnappers can get some information about you via social media. For those who put pictures and their destination on social media about their next action are likely to fall prey. Church things, I am off to ABC, on my way to launch as XYZ. These personal details are needless and must not be put on social media.
When you visit the profile of some friends, you will virtually know them inside out on a daily basis this is dangerous. It opens you up for kidnappers and evil-minded persons to target you.
Learn to stay in touch with your most trusted family member or friend. A tracking device can also help inform the person you trust of your where about.
Avoid discussions relating to money, family, etc. in public places, public transport and the like.
When kidnappers have mastered your movement, they now take time to survey the area they find you for anyone or activities that might prevent them from kidnapping you. If you fail to do all the above, chances are that kidnappers who have targeted you, have surveyed and mastered your movement so well.
The Abduction or actual kidnap phase
The point of abduction is one that surely will be filled with fear and panic because the victim may be caught unawares. When they are sure you are at risk, the take action.
Very often, kidnappers may act with a car on standby, have a lengthy chat with you even as strangers and then take advantage of the situation and abduct their victim. This was the method used by the woman who kidnapped the one-year-old boy recently in Ghana.
It is important that you do not get too close to strangers easily, and always keep emergency numbers such as the police numbers in mind and activate them for easy automatic press and hold calls on your phone.
Always be vigilant, be your won investigator even at home and be assertive to question strangers in and around your house. Be quick to raise a loud alarm if you feel threatened. You can foil a kidnap by attracting the attention of people around if you feel threatened. Do not live things for a chance because a one-second delay can cost you your freedom and life.
Let us keep educating ourselves, enlighten each other, be extra cautious and stay safe.