Gitmo two: US Official accepts error over contradictory comments

The head of press information at the US Embassy in Ghana says he erred in announcing that Ghana government will contribute to the upkeep of the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Daniel Fennell had told host of TV3 Hot Issues Kwasi Pratt that the cost of the upkeep for the two former terror suspects is a shared responsibility between Ghana and the United States.

“We are contributing some money towards that and the government of Ghana is making all the arrangements and taking care of them,” Fennell told Kwesi Pratt in a yet-to-be-aired interview.

When pressed further by the host whether the government of Ghana is indeed paying for the upkeep, Fennel said “Is that so difficult to imagine that Ghana would pay for something that is happening in Ghana? I think it is laudable we should be proud of Ghana.”

This was in sharp contrast to an earlier statement by deputy communication minister, Felix Kwakye-Ofosu that the US government would be paying for the full cost for the upkeep of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby.

On Friday, Mr Kwakye-Ofosu said on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM that government’s position on the matter has not changed..

Felix Kwakye-Ofosu
The deputy communication minister said if there is any cost at all, it is cost that the country already incurs running the country’s security – standing his ground that Ghana would not be bearing the cost of accommodation, feeding and transportation for the two former terror suspects.

“In any event, we are the government that has received them, and we are fully aware of the facts. If you speak to a US Embassy official, who speaks for an Embassy, in terms of even designation I don’t think that he speaks for the US government in its entirety,” Mr Kwakye-Ofosu said on the Super Morning Show.

Shortly after this comment, Daniel Fennell, speaking on the show, apologised for any mix-up that must have resulted from his interview with Kwesi Pratt.

“The United States is providing costs support for all of the housing and support for the detainees that have come to Ghana. So the Minister is absolutely correct. If I made a contrary statement it is my error and I apologise for any confusion.”

“The Ghanaian Government is absolutely correct. We are providing the support to allow for the transfer [of the detainees] to be successful,” Daniel Fennell told show host, Kojo Yankson.

The US government transferred the two detainees it held for more than a decade without trial at the Guantanamo Bay camp to Ghana earlier this month.

News of the transfer of the Yemeni terror suspects sparked public fury.

The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference and pressure group, OccupyGhana and a host of other organizations as well as individuals have condemned government for accepting to settle the terror suspects here.

The general sentiment is that the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees pose a security threat to the country, claims the government is at pains to dismiss.

Story by Ghana | | George Nyavor | [email protected]

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