Friday, May 22, 2015

President Mahama Commits to Upgrading GAF

13 February 2015. President of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), President John Dramani Mahama, has reiterated his commitment to retooling GAF in order that the service is able to ensure security of the country’s borders, airspace and maritime domains.

The equipping drive which commenced in 2009 under the Late President John Mills will see GAF receive a set of new aircrafts – including four new Z9 helicopters, five new SUPER Tucano, suitable for training and assault purposes, and the construction of a new 500-bed Ultra-modern hospital in Kumasi, to be owned by GAF. 

He made these known during the of the General Headquarters (GHQ) 2014 West African Soldiers  Social Activities (WASSA) celebration at Burma Camp in Accra on Friday, 13 February 2015.

In the face of the increasing levels of sophisticated crimes around the world, security services home and abroad were confronted with the challenge of having to device appropriate tactics and techniques, to combat these forms of crimes.

The need to adopt the most adept forms of crime-fighting approaches has become imperative on the continent, due largely to the rise in issues of terrorism.

It was against this backdrop that President John Mahama renewed his commitment to ensure GAF was adequately tooled to aid the collective fight against contemporary security threats.

HE John Mahama said the upgrade of the facilities at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), with the construction of new auditorium, lecture halls among others had earned the College an accreditation to become a fully-fledged military university.

He assured troops his government would expand the facilities at the Ghana Military Academy and Training Schools, so as to double the intake of cadets from the current number of hundred officer cadets to two hundred.

President Mahama noted the capacity to wage war on contemporary security threats that abound needs more than the use of conventional forces, especially against troops that have emerged recently wreaking havoc through suicide bombings and mass terror attacks.
“We must prepare and train for any eventuality – hostage situations, bombings, and attacks on shopping malls among others. Government would therefore continue to work with you, in our progressive effort to upgrade GAF into a vibrant force in the sub region and enhance your capacity in contributing to the sustainable growth of our economy,” he added.

The C-in-C further commended GAF, for its gallantry in the discharge of its duties, culminating in the arrest recently of some eight heavily armed pirates on the Merchant Vessel Mariam in our territorial waters.

The Chief of Staff (COS), Maj Gen Bobson Saagbul in his welcome address, emphasised GAF’s determination to continue to partner other security services to fight crime, protect vital national installations as well as respond to national emergencies.

Maj Gen Saagbul said GAF was ready and willing to join the international community at all times to bring peace and security to troubled parts of the world in furtherance of the international diplomatic agenda of the government and to ensure peace and security across the country.

He further stressed the need for constant upgrading of equipment, training and strategies for GAF to keep pace with the changing dynamics in both domestic and international responsibilities since crime and insurgency had become more complicated worldwide.

The COS lauded the efforts of government in the running of the affairs of GAF and noted the military high command recognised the President’s efforts towards ensuring the efficiency and productivity of GAF‘s operations.

He also praised officers, men, women and civilian employees for their hard work, discipline, dedication to duty in spite of the obvious challenges.

Three officers and Other Ranks were awarded for excelling in the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Annual Essay Prize competition.

Present at the occasion included the Chairperson of the Council of State, Mrs Cecilia Johnson, Member of the Council of State, Lt Gen Seth Kofi Obeng, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, Hon Fritz Baffour, National Security Coordinator, Mr Yaw Donkor, Deputy Defence Minister Mr Alexander Segbefia, Service Chiefs, Formation Commanders, senior officers, Defence Attachés, representatives of sister security services, among others.

Installation and the Demonstration of Ferry Training Ends

10 February 2015. The Engineer Corps of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), in collaboration with the German Advisory Group in Ghana have ended a training program in the installation and demonstration of ferry at Akosombo ferry point, on Tuesday 10 February 2015.

The Commander Rear of the 48 Engineer Regiment, Lt Col Ernest Nyuur said that the construction of the ferry, started last year September 2014, with the aim at reducing the traffic congestion at Senchi ferry point.  Due to the reconstruction works at Adomi Bridge.

He reiterated that, the German Advisory Group, some time now, had being providing continuation assistance to the Engineers Corps in so many areas, particularly, bridging equipment.

He further explained that the training was also to show case to the German parliamentary team who were in Ghana to access some of the equipments they had been provided to GAF.

The Commanding Officer of the German Advisory Group, Lt Col Kunz said  the team was responsible for training with the Engineer corps of GAF in the area of bridging and construction of ferries to carry troops and equipments to cross rivers when the need arise.

He further explained that the training was to demonstrate to the German Parliamentary Team also known as the budget committee who are the sponsors of this training how the resources are put to good use.

The leader of the delegation, Mrs Barnett Doris thanked the Engineer corps and the GAF for putting the resources into good use.

Present at the occasion were the Acting German Defence Attaché for Ghana, Col Schneider, the Commanding Officer 49 Engineer Regiments, Lt Col Shooter, the Commanding Officer Engineer Training School (ETS), Lt Col Jonas Wiafe, the Managing Director of Volta Lakes Transport, Mr Erik Yarboi, Maintenance Engineers, Master Seargent Seidl, Master Seargent Niemann, Master Seargent Tobias and personnel from the 48 Engineer Regiment and Engineer Training School.

Let’s Fight Terrorism - Deputy Defence Minister

9 February 2015. The Deputy Minister for Defence, Hon Alex Segbefia has emphasised the need for Africa to fight terrorism since it has become a common enemy facing the sub-region.

He appealed to the various authorities who are involved in peace and stability to come together to help fight this canker.

He made these remarks on behalf of the Minister for Defence, Hon Dr Benjamin Kunbour during the official handing-over of equipment to the Ghana Armed Forces by the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group (GAFTAG) at Burma Camp.

Hon Segbefia said GAFTAG has been at the forefront of the Federal Republic of Germany Equipment Aid programme to the Ghana Armed Forces since 2005 and its focus is mainly on supporting the Ghana Engineer Company as they train as part of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Standby Force.

The equipment, worth 1.5 million Euros, was handed over by Mrs Doris Barnet. It included Nine Mantrac troop carrying vehicles, two Speed Boats, four Belly Bridges, Spraying Oven, Mobile Break Testing machine, Engine carrier, shock absorbers, alignment machine, GD 4X4 Benz, compressor, trolley jerk and other equipment.

During the same ceremony, GAFTAG also handed over completed projects such as infrastructural improvement at the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Technical Training School (EMETTS), renovation and re-equipping of Base Workshop main shop and the construction of a borehole. Renovation and equipping of a Battery shop, installation of vulcanizing machines, construction of a new Ablution unit for the Workshop and a 7.5 metre depth borehole which will provide water to the  Chiringa barracks, Arakan and EMETTS student accommodation block.

GAFTAG has also completed the construction of a one storey-seven-classroom block, a 70-man accommodation block for students, an administration block and eight mechanical and electrical workshop which were commissioned in 2010.

The leader of the German delegation, Mrs Doris Barnet in her speech on behalf of the German Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Rudriger John, noted that the corporation between the German Government especially GAFTAG and GAF has been very cordial which will help in African peacekeeping and development.

She said Ghana has been a partner in development programmes and a reliable country in peacekeeping since 1968 which is remarkable in the history of peacekeeping and conflict management.

‘’We are happy to assist Ghana to improve upon its infrastructure and together with  the German Advisory Group, Ghana has become a pillar of the African Standby Force and this will improve the bilateral relation between Ghana and Germany’’ she emphasized.

Present at the occasion were the Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Geoffery Mawuli Biekro, the Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Bobson Saagbul, Commandant, Ghana Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS) Commend, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Akoto-Bonso, Commander Support Services Brigade Group, Brig Gen Musah Whajah, Commanding Officer of Base Workshop, Lt Col Kwaku Kumi, Senior officers, Forces Sergeant Major, SWO Owusu Dickson and other.

Some of the German delegation included the leader of GAFTAG, Lt Col Kunz, the protocol officer at the German Embassy in Ghana Ms Isolde Rausch and a representative of the Budget Committee at the German Parliament, Kai Lingen.

Pakistani High Commissioner Calls for Deeper Bilateral Relations with Ghana

4 February 2015. The Pakistani High Commissioner to Ghana, Lt Gen Muhammad Asharaf Saleem, has stressed on the need for deeper bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Ghana in the areas of trade, investment and industry.

He said education and cultural exchanges between the two countries had been excellent and under it, Ghana Armed Forces personnel are in Pakistan for training.

He made these remarks when he paid a courtesy call on the Defence Minister, Hon Dr Benjamin Kunbuor in his office at the Ministry of Defence (The Square) on Wednesday February 4, 2015.

Lt Gen Saleem said Pakistan has expertise in the manufacture of military equipment which includes shoes, hardware and uniforms.

He said his country's skills at aircraft manufacturing and maintenance skills are of international standard as well as the manufacture of agricultural tractors.

Hon Dr Kunbuor on the other hand, welcomed the need for enhanced collaboration between Pakistan and Ghana. He said exploration would be done at the technical level to ascertain exchanges of mutual economic and military benefits between the armed forces of the two countries.

ICT, the Way Forward for the Military - Defence Minister

3 February 2015. The Minister for Defence Hon Benjamin Kunbour in his closing remarks at the just ended Future Fires Summit 2015 on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre said, the summit has given options for effective fire systems, shared information and experiences on contemporary fire systems that meet the demand of current warfare.

The ultimate aim of the conference was to enhance existing or develop new systems that will enhance integrated fires and command and control to ensure peace in the country and by extension, international security.

The Minister added that, Ghana’s experience in ECOMOG Operation in the early 1990s has long informed them about the requirements for integrated fires from Land, Sea and Air. He acknowledged the changing dynamics in the use of indirect fires in asymmetric warfare that confront global security and was convinced that the summit has provided ways to improve concepts and plans to address these problems.

Hon Kunbour stated that steps were being taken to make regional bodies such as African Standby Force or ECOWAS Standby Force operationally efficient.  He added that any attempt to ignore common platforms will undermine the integration of information and communication technology which has offered the military varied systems and modes of communication.

He thanked the exhibitors who came to exhibit their goods and services at the summit, which has given participants first-hand information on the systems they desire to procure and to a large extent address the concerns on the systems. He finally thanked the Ghana Army and International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC) for organising such a summit and Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre for their hospitality for the two day event.

Participating countries were Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, United States of America, Germany, Togo and Bangladesh.

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