Entries in Ghana (4)


Crown Jewels Stolen from Ghana’s Royal Family

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OSLO, Norway) -- Precious ancestral crown jewels were stolen from Ghana’s king while he was on a business trip to Norway and Oslo and police are trying to track down the thieves who were caught on video cameras.

The gold jewelry that has been handed down through generations of the Ashanti royal family in Ghana was in a briefcase when someone snatched it Wednesday from a hotel lobby.

King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and his delegation were staying at the Oslo hotel while representing Ghana at a business conference.  Police told local media they have “good” surveillance pictures that they are looking through to identify suspects.

Ashanti kings are often heavily adorned in ornate golden jewelry when they make public appearances.  Historians say it is meant to symbolize the power and prestige of the Ashanti people, and many of the jewels hold symbolic spiritual meaning.

When word of the jewelry heist reached Ghana, some questioned whether the theft could lead to the king being dethroned, or rather, “destooled” because for hundreds of years Ashanti kings have been seated on a golden stool during coronation ceremonies.  However, the king’s secretary said Friday there is no cause for such drastic action because only “a few” jewels were stolen.

“It’s not such a big deal as people are speculating,” Kofi Owusu Boateng said in an interview with the BBC.

Boateng said only some rings and headwear were taken.  He said he could not estimate the dollar value of the items.

King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II became the 16th leader of Ghana’s largest ethnic group, the Ashanti (or Asante) in 1999.  Ghana’s constitution does not allow him or other traditional leaders to get involved in politics officially, but he is influential as a revered figurehead and does decide some local matters.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ghana's President John Atta Mills Dead at 68

President John Atta Mills of Ghana with President Obama in the Oval Office, March 8, 2012.    SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ACCRA, Ghana) -- Ghana’s president John Atta Mills has died following a battle with throat cancer. He was 68.

A statement released by his staff on Tuesday called Mills’ death “sudden and untimely," but the cause of Mills' death was not announced.

Mills served as Ghana’s president since 2009. He ran for president twice before a third attempt -- against Nana Akufo-Addo in December 2008 -- finally proved to be the charm, the BBC reported.

He was expected to run for re-election in December.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama is expected to assume the role of president.

The West African country has become a stable democracy and is making economic progress.  Leadership is considered vital at this time in Ghana’s history as the country works to put newfound oil wealth to good use and avoid the massive corruption that often follows the discovery of the resource.

In a statement President Obama said, “It was with great regret that I learned of the passing of President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana.

“I will always remember my trip to Ghana in 2009, and the hospitality that President Mills and the people of Ghana showed to me, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and our entire delegation. I was also pleased to host President Mills in the Oval Office earlier this year,” Obama said.

“President Mills tirelessly worked to improve the lives of the Ghanaian people.  He helped promote economic growth in Ghana in the midst of challenging global circumstances and strengthened Ghana’s strong tradition of democracy. Under his leadership, the United States and Ghana deepened our partnership in the promotion of good governance and economic development. He was also a strong advocate for human rights and for the fair treatment of all Ghanaians.

“On behalf of the American people, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the people of Ghana, and reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between our democracies that President Mills helped to strengthen.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Praises Ghana as Model of Democracy

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama praised “good news” Ghana Thursday as a democratic model for Africa, after welcoming Ghana President John Evans Atta Mills to the White House.

“This is a country that has established a strong tradition of democracy, and President Mills and I were comparing notes,” Obama told reporters following an Oval Office meeting with Mills. “We’re both up for re-election. But, you know, what we agreed to is the fact that regardless of who wins and who loses, our countries’ commitment to making sure that the people have a voice and determine who it is that represents them in their government is what gives both our countries such strength.”

Obama said there is often a tendency to focus on the many challenges that exist in Africa. Yet, he said, “It’s important for us also to focus on the good news that’s coming out of Africa, and I think Ghana continues to be a good news story.”

Obama went on to laud Ghana as an economic “success story” on the continent, and a strong and responsible partner on the international stage.

Mills thanked the president for his warm reception and noted that their nations share the same values of democracy.

Obama traveled to Ghana in July 2009, his only trip to sub-Saharan Africa during his presidency.

Thursday’s meeting, the president said, was an “opportunity to return the extraordinary hospitality that they showed not only me, but also Michelle and Sasha and Malia when we had the opportunity to visit last year.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Authorities Arrest Suspects Involved in International Drug Ring

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An international drug ring smuggling heroin through Dulles Airport was broken up Thursday with seven suspects arrested.
According to U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride traffickers used couriers to transport drugs from Ghana to the United States, where they would then move about the east coast. Among those arrested were two in Maryland, one in Virginia and one in New York.
The smugglers were paid as much as $15,000 to smuggle $250,000 worth of heroin into the country each trip. Authorities say they used carry on bags which hid heroin in the lining or in special compartments.
The alleged 61 year old ringleader was arrested in Ghana.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio