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Fighting terrorism in West Africa: EU gives Ghana 105 tactical armoured vehicles

President Akufo-Addo has commissioned 105 militarised vehicles, donated by the European Union (EU) to boost efforts by the Ghana Armed Forces to secure the northern frontiers of the country from activities of terrorists operating in the neighbouring Burkina Faso and Sahel region.

Speaking at a ceremony to commission the militarised vehicles, held on the forecourt of the Ministry of National Security on Saturday (28 October), President Akufo-Addo said that no single country can fight terrorism and violent extremism, a growing threat in the West African region, just by itself.

The European Commission vice-president, Josep Borrell Fontelles, with one of 105 armoured vehicles newly donated by the EC to the Ghana Armed Forces

Pivotal role

President Akufo-Addo said the latest attempts by terrorist groups operating in the Sahel to extend their activities to coastal West Africa are clear and obvious, and they pose a substantial security risk to the people and stability of Ghana.

Furthermore, he said, “Recent occurrences of terrorist activity in neighbouring Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin underscore the pressing need for Ghana to enhance her counterterrorism measures” in order to secure the nation’s territorial integrity.

“These vehicles will play a pivotal role in our efforts to fortify Ghana’s northern frontiers against terrorism.

“I assure His Excellency Josep Borrell Fontelles and the European Union that Ghana is committed to utilising these resources, including the militarised vehicles, for the agreed purposes, which include securing our northern frontiers against terrorist incursions,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“Ghana stands ready to continue to collaborate with the European Union to safeguard our mutual security interest, particularly in the West Africa region. I extend our heartfelt gratitude to the European Union for this generous donation, which reflects the depths of our partnership and shared commitment to a safer, more secure future,” the president added.

EU support

The vice-president of the European Commission and European Union high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, delivered a statement on behalf of the EU.

He noted that “the spillover of insecurity from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea countries is not a risk any more. It is, sadly, a reality – a reality that [the EU’s] partners cannot, and should not face alone,” he said.

The vice-president of the European Commission, Josep Borrell Fontelles, inspects a guard of honour at the commissioning of 105 armoured vehicles for the Ghana Armed Forces
The vice-president of the European Commission, Josep Borrell Fontelles, inspects a guard of honour

“We heard your call at UNGA [the United Nations General Assembly in New York] last month when you requested more international solidarity in the fight against conflict and violent extremism. The EU is ready to answer this call.

“The time has come to put words into action. That is why, today, I am happy to hand over 105 armoured vehicles.

“This is part of a €20 million package of equipment to help reinforce the Ghana Armed Forces. Further equipment will also be delivered in the future, notably for aerial surveillance, electronic warfare systems and rivercraft.

“We are confident that this support will benefit not only Ghana, but the entire sub-region as well,” Borrell said.

“The equipment delivered today comes on top of ongoing projects to reinforce border management and prevent local tensions.

“However, countering terrorism requires more than armoured vehicles and drones. Successful prevention requires improved service provision and job creation, especially for youth and women.

“Investments for socio-economic inclusion, in the Northern regions of Ghana in particular, are key. A large proportion of our current bilateral co-operation – €203 million for 2021-2024 – is dedicated to those priorities.

“The EU is also supporting Ghana in the promotion of sustainable growth, digital and green transitions, and climate resilience reinforcement of health and education systems,” the EC vice-president added.

Critical milestone

The National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah, registered the Ghanaian government’s appreciation to the European Union for the assistance offered to Ghana in her quest to secure her northern frontiers and her territorial integrity as a whole.

Kan-Dapaah added that the EU donation is a critical milestone in the nation’s journey to enhance its security and counterterrorism efforts. The donation is the end result of a mission that President Akufo-Addo set for the heads of Ghana’s security architecture roughly two years ago, which has been fulfilled.

Kan-Dapaah said the 105 cars donated by the European Union include 13 Landcruiser pick-ups, ten GMC Sierras and Toyota Land Cruisers, Toyota single cabins, as well as Chevy Silverado and Sierra pick-ups. The vehicles, the National Security Minister said, will go a long way to augment efforts to keep the country’s northern borders safe.

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