Security forces have rescued two Canadian women who were abducted in Ghana earlier this month, following an early-morning raid by Ghanaian security forces.
Bailey Chitty and Lauren Tilley were rescued early Wednesday in the south-central Ashanti region, government officials and their volunteer group said.
Ghana’s security forces stormed the building where the women were being held early Wednesday morning, Minister of Information Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah said at a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday afternoon. Shots were fired and eight suspects were arrested.
WATCH: Two Canadian women rescued from kidnappers in Ghana
Oppong-Nkrumah says five of the suspects were from Ghana and three were from Nigeria. One of them suffered minor injuries.
“No foreign assets were involved in this operation,” Oppong-Nkrumah said. He acknowledged that Canada sent experts to help but they were not necessary.
He added that no ransom was discussed or paid.
WATCH: No ransom discussions before Canadians were freed in Ghana
The two women, aged 19 and 20, were kidnapped from the Royal Golf Club in the city of Kumasi early last week, according to a police statement at the time. They had been volunteering for the charity Youth Challenge International. The charity confirmed their identities in a statement on Wednesday.
“They are safe and both the police and government of Ghana are ensuring the young women’s protection in Ghana,” Youth Challenge International said in a statement.
Global Affairs Canada says it’s providing assistance to the two women and their families.
“The government is very relieved to confirm that the two Canadians who were kidnapped in Ghana have been released,” a Global Affairs spokesperson told Global News in a statement. “We would like to thank the government of Ghana for their cooperation in the resolution of this case.”
Global Affairs did not provide any further details due to privacy concerns and the “harrowing experiences” both women endured.
Oppong-Nkrumah says one of the suspects may have been linked to a separate kidnapping case involving multiple Ghanaian girls.
“An equal level of attention is being given to all of these crimes regardless of which nationality is involved,” he said. Oppong-Nkrumah declined to provide any further details, citing a potential risk to ongoing operations.
WATCH: Ghana’s minister of information says no foreign assets used for rescue
“Citizens and travellers are once again assured that Ghana remains safe,” the ministry said in a statement posted on Facebook.
The country has been considered one of the safest in the region for foreign travellers.
The Canadian government warns citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Ghana “due to petty crime.” The advisory was last updated on June 6, shortly after the kidnapping.
—With files from the Associated Press