(CNN)Three suspects have been arrested and explosives and other weapons have been seized over an alleged plot to destabilize Ghana's presidency, the country's minister of information said Monday.
Ghana arrests 3 suspects allegedly plotting to destabilize the country
Security forces in the West African nation had been monitoring the suspects' activities for more than a year before their arrest Friday, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said in a statement.
"The joint operation was to neutralise an elaborate plot targeted at the presidency, and with the ultimate aim of destabilising the country," Nkrumah said in the statement, which was posted to Twitter and confirmed to CNN by his deputy, Pius Enam Hadzide.
The suspects are being questioned as the investigation continues, Nkrumah said. They have not yet been arraigned and are in the custody of a joint security task force comprised of members of the country's Defense Intelligence Department, Criminal Investigation Department and Bureau of National Investigations, Hadzide said.
The arrests come a year ahead of presidential elections in Ghana, with incumbent Nana Akufo-Addo expected to seek another term. Recent elections have been peaceful.
Among the suspects is a local weapons manufacturer and a medical doctor. A workshop was set up inside an empty container at a hospital and was used to produce improvised explosive devices and other weapons, the minister said.
The cache also included smoke grenades, pistols, ammunition for automatic firearms, and computer equipment, Nkrumah said. The conspirators also obtained chemicals from a teaching hospital to be mixed with gun powder and other items for their operations, Ghana alleges.
The suspects -- Ezor Kafui, Dr. Frederick Yao Mac-Palm and Bright Allan Debrah Ofosu -- reached out to military personnel and "talked them into hatching and executing a plot to obtain weapons, take over key installations, and secure funding for the purpose of taking over the reins of government," Nkrumah said.
CNN could not immediately reach the suspects or determine whether they have lawyers.
Besides alleged acts within Ghana, Mac-Palm is accused of working with two people "based" in the United States to form a youth empowerment and charity organization as a cover "to build a support base of youth, and radicalize them against the political authority in Ghana," Nkrumah said.
"The public is encouraged to remain calm and advised to provide information on any suspicious persons or activities to the police for necessary action," Nkrumah said.
Ghana in recent years has enjoyed relative peace but has faced some security challenges. including kidnapping.