Two Canadian women kidnapped from golf club in Ghana

Royal Golf Club in Kumasi from where two Canadian women were kidnapped. (Screengrab YouTube)
Updated 06 June 2019
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Two Canadian women kidnapped from golf club in Ghana

  • The Canadians, charity volunteers aged 19 and 20, were taken on Tuesday evening from a golf course in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city
  • They women are volunteers with Youth Challenge International, a Canadian international development organization with its headquarters in Toronto

ACCRA: Two Canadian women have been abducted in Ghana, police said Thursday, a rare attack in a country seen as one of the most secure in the West African region.
The Canadians, charity volunteers aged 19 and 20, were taken on Tuesday evening in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of the capital Accra, David Eklu, Assistant Commissioner of Police said in a statement.
“Police Command is investigating a complaint of kidnapping at Ahodwo, Royal Golf Club Kumasi, at 8:25 p.m. on 4 June, 2019, where two women of Canadian nationality were kidnapped,” Eklu said.
“Investigation started immediately upon receipt of the complaint, and the security agencies are working closely together to get them rescued, and the perpetrators arrested,” he added.
Police did not release the names of the women.
But they said they are volunteers with a group Youth Challenge International, a Canadian international development organization with its headquarters in Toronto.
The group works in 16 countries across South America, Africa and Asia, working to support development projects for young people in areas such as health, education and employment.
“The general public is urged to assist the police by volunteering information,” Eklu added.
Security sources suggested this was a kidnapping for ransom.
Kidnappings and violent crime toward to foreigners are rare in Ghana.
But earlier this year, local media quoted President Nana Akufo-Addo as warning that action must be taken to make sure kidnapping “doesn’t become a feature of our society.”
In April, an Indian man was reportedly abducted, also in Kumasi, by an armed gang demanding a cash ransom. He was swiftly rescued by police.
Tourism is an important industry for Ghana, and Kumasi, the historic capital of the Ashanti kingdom, is a favorite destination.
Ghana is a country of some 30 million people, where more than two-thirds of people follow Christianity and the rest Islam and other religions.
It has long been seen as a bulwark of stability in a region struggling to contain multiple groups of Islamist fighters.
Akufo-Addo, speaking on Wednesday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr, called on the Ghanaian people to protect religious tolerance.
“We are the envy of the world when it comes to the peaceful co-existence of different religious communities,” Akufo-Addo said in a speech, according to the presidency.
He also urged people to “report suspicious characters” to the police.
“We cannot surrender this beautiful way of life for anything, and, certainly, not to people who seek to pervert religious beliefs,” Akufo-Addi added.


16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

Updated 20 min 58 sec ago
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16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

  • The accident occurred outside Mahamasina Stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark National Day

ANTANANARIVO: At least 16 people were crushed to death and dozens injured in Madagascar on Wednesday at a stadium hosting national independence day celebrations in the capital Antananarivo.
The bodies of sixteen victims, including three children, were stored at the mortuary of HJRA hospital in the city, AFP journalists said.
Hospital director Oliva Alison Rakoto had earlier reported 15 dead and 80 wounded.
According to witnesses at the hospital, the accident occurred in the afternoon outside the Mahamasina stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark the national holiday.
At the end of a military parade, security forces opened the gates to allow spectators to leave the enclosure, causing the crowd to mass outside the stadium, witnesses said.
The police then immediately closed the gates and blocked the crowd, witnesses said, causing a deadly pile up.
“When the organizers opened the gate, we were in the front row, in the queue,” said Jean Claude Etienne Rakotoarimanana, 29, who suffered bruises from the crush.
“Suddenly people ran to get in front of us. They shoved us, some even punched us and pulled us,” he added, saying he then fainted.
In September 2018, a deadly crush killed one person and injured 30 people in similar circumstances at the entrance of the same stadium during a football match between Madagascar and Senegal.