Gunman Storms Church… Fear Grips Christians
The gunman and his deadly pistol
Fear and panic gripped worshippers at a church at Hamile in the Upper West Region after the arrest of a gunman.
The gunman had documents on him which suggested that he is a Burkinabe.
A search conducted on the suspect, whose body language raised eyebrows, revealed a five-round loaded pistol.
The suspect, Bilgo Tibila Desire, 51, has been conveyed to the Upper West Regional Police Headquarters for interrogation.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that he has so far not said anything about whether he belongs to a group or not.
The identification card on him indicates that he is a Burkinabe citizen and a builder by profession, but his mission at a church at Hamile during mass is something the police are yet to disclose.
Given the proximity of Hamile to Burkina Faso where terrorists are active, the case could be handed over to the national security apparatus for further investigation.
He also had in his possession an identification suggesting that he is a director of a Burkinabe firm, Establissment Bilgo Tibila & Freres.
Spreading The Word
The frightened members of the church ‘whatsapped’ one another about the need to be wary of strangers.
One of such messages which summed up what happened said, “Good afternoon brothers and sisters. Let us all be alert during our Eucharistic celebration. Know who sits by you. Any stranger should be interrogated. This morning at Hamile during first mass a stranger was picked up and interrogated and searched. It was found that he had a gun loaded with nine bullets and he was sent to the regional police headquarters.”
Upper West REGSEC
The Upper West Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has advised that all churches and places of worship in the region should tighten their security in and around their facilities.
The REGSEC also called on people of the region to be vigilant and report all suspected characters in their vicinity to the police for professional actions to be taken.
Even though REGSEC members have been advised not talk to the media on decisions taken at meetings, a DAILY GUIDE source said there would be tight security measures across the region’s borders and important places in the region that may inconvenience residents but would yield good results later.
Until recently, Hamile used to be a peaceful area, with few criminal activities taking place there in spite of its proximity to the Burkinabe border.
The Archbishop’s Call
It would be recalled that the Accra Metropolitan Archbishop, Most Reverend John Bonaventure Kwofie, announced that the church was on high alert to avert a potential attack.
The Accra Diocese, he said, had engaged the IGP and the police administration to put together a strategy to protect worshippers.
“Security has become a big issue today owing to what happened in Sri Lanka and what is happening in Burkina Faso. Since it’s coming closer to us, we are now sounding alert to face this security threat that is coming up. It’s the duty of every Ghanaian to be security conscious because we take things for granted”, he said.
Ushers, who are the first to receive members into the church, must question people who come to church carrying heavy backpacks or handbags.
“That is why Christ the King Catholic Church is saying that do not come to church with bags in your hand because nobody knows what you are carrying to the church,” he said.
Two hundred and seven (270) people were killed and 450 sustained injuries after an explosion in a Catholic Church during Easter.
The local police engaged suspected Islamists in a firefight a few days after the incident.
The arrests which followed showed that those behind the attack were linked to ISIS.
Burkina Faso Terrorists
Burkina Faso and Mali are currently battling terrorists with links to ISIS.
Ghanaian security managers have raised concerns about the issue and called for retooling of both the military and the police in the light of the security threat posed by the terrorists.
Recently, two Ghanaian drivers were killed by suspected terrorists between the Burkina and Mali borders.
The drivers plied the long haul route between Tema and Bamako.
By A.R. Gomda, Melvin Tarlue, Ebo Bruce Quansah