Personnel of the Special Boats Squadron Unit of the Ghana Armed Forces have participated in a joint military capacity-building programme under Operation Flintlock, a United States Africa Command-sponsored exercise, at the Tema Port.
The programme, which seeks to strengthen partnerships between Africa, the US and other international military and police organisations to enhance security and stability in the African region, involved drills in sea protection, tactical training, piracy attack rescue and crew rescue and protection.
The exercise, being hosted simultaneously in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, has 1,300 military and navy personnel being trained to help address the security challenges in the Sahel and coastal West Africa.
The 2023 programme covers Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroun, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Niger.
Others include Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.
There are also personnel from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States participating.
The US Africa Command-sponsored exercises are to bolster partnerships between African, the US, and other international military and law enforcement organisations, increase interoperability during crises and operations to increase security and stability in the region.
The Volta Site Lead and Liaison to the Maritime African Partners, Major Adam Demarco, addressing journalists at the Tema Port, said the United States government had committed $5 million to the two-week training programme.
That, he said, had also seen the establishment of training centres at Sogakope, Daboya and Tamale to aid future activities under the initiative.
He said the partnership had brought together all partners in the African region to build their capacity and capability to enhance and ensure the collective security of Africa.
The number of trainees, Major Demarco said, had been divided at five different sites in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire to work as a coalition towards the purpose.
“Our goal is to work and ensure an enhanced collective security for the region, as well as getting all partners to take ownership of the security situation, so we can have a more secured west coast across Africa," Major Demarco said.
He said whereas the training covered all aspects of conflicts, it was not in response to any specific threat, but instead it aimed to enhance collective security provided by all domain operations.
Sharing his impressions about the exercise, he described the performance of Ghanaian officers as outstanding, saying they had demonstrated capability in the exercises.
“Their ability to secure Ghana is essentially a tier one, and that should excite every Ghanaian.
However, our challenge is how to get everybody onboard to own the collective security process so as to get everyone on the same page to be able to combat any externalities within the region,” he stressed.
While commending Ghana, especially, for its commitment to the programme, Major Demarco highlighted that in meeting all domain conflicts, the focus had been on training execution to allow African nations to take responsibility for handling future threats.