Ghana tightens airport security
 
Posted on: 2009-Dec-30        Ghanaian Times
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Security at the Kotoka International Airport has been tightened up following reports of alleged attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian, Oumar Farouk Abdulmullabs to blow up an aircraft, which was enroute from Amsterdam to Detroit, USA on Christmas Day.

Mrs. Doreen Owusu-Fianko, Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company, told the Times that, “with immediate effect, extra screening for departing passengers has been introduced at the sterile area of the airport.”

The sterile area is the area where screened passengers wait to board their plane. In addition, screened passengers would be put in a 100 per cent sterility position: meaning that they must not come into contact with outsiders.

“Another security measure is that after passengers have gone through the archway (departure entry point) they are subjected to hundred per cent body search,” she added.

Minutes before the plane which was carrying 289 passengers and crew could land, Abdulmullabs allegedly attempted to detonate an explosive device moulded and sewn to his underpants. Mr Abdulmutallab’s route began in Yemen, from where he travelled to Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria.

On December 24, he flew from Lagos to Amsterdam, where he boarded the flight to Detroit. Associated Press reports that a Nigerian official had said, Mr Abdulmutallab bought his ticket with cash from KLM office in Accra eight days before the flight departed from Nigeria.

His name according to security services has been on a watch-list of more than half a million individuals, known as Terrorist Identities Data mart Environment (Tide), but there was not enough information about his activities to place him on a watch list that would have prevented him from flying.

Meanwhile, Owusu-Fianko has scheduled a high-level meeting of all airlines operating in Ghana within the week to discuss measures put in place to enhance security at KIA.