Two Canadian women who were volunteering with an international development organisation have been abducted in Ghana, a rare attack in a country seen as one of the most secure in the West African region.
The Canadians, who are ages 19 and 20, were taken on Tuesday evening in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city, some 200km (125 miles) north-west of the capital Accra.
“Police command is investigating a complaint of kidnapping at Ahodwo, Kumasi Royal Golf Club, at 8.25pm on 4 June 2019, where two women of Canadian nationality were kidnapped,” said David Eklu, assistant commissioner of police, in a statement on Thursday.
“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 the group Youth Challenge International, a Canadian international development organisation 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.
Canada’s foreign ministry said it had informed the women’s families and was working with local authorities.
Security sources suggested this was a kidnapping for ransom.
Kidnappings and violent crime towards foreigners are rare in Ghana.
But earlier this year, local media quoted the 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 favourite 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 militants.