Modern trends in terrorism on the continent of Africa, and particularly the West African sub-region, have challenged the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to commence training exercises in anticipation of potential threats to the peace, stability and development of the country.
Terrorist attacks in recent times have been indiscriminate and not spared nations remotely active on the global stage of activism of any kind, hence attacks on public buildings in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Burkina, Mali and Nigeria.
These events have prompted the military high command to scale up the phase of her anti-terrorism trainings to equip her Counter Terrorism Unit – 64 Infantry Regiment – to help prevent or minimise the impact of any such attack, should what seems like the inevitable occur in Ghana.
The Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), under the leadership of Commanding Officer (CO) Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) FiifiDeegbe, has thus devised new ways to train monthly with what they call “ON-SITE TRAINING”, in which they pick and choose public buildings of some importance in patronage and under varied scenarios, apply ‘course-of-action’ mechanisms to rid the structure of any foe.
The first beneficiary of the scheme was the Accra Shopping Mall, which simulatedly was attacked by terrorists who were successful in entering the country but upon a tip-off, the military high command directed its relevant units to handle the situation, promptly.
The troops did two simulations on the building – one in the dark of the night from the front entry and, the other in daylight from the rear entries, since that building has a lot of entrances.
Lt Col Fiifi Deegbe hinted that all the major buildings, including national parks in the country would benefit from the trainings to help appropriately tool the unit in knowledge and equipment to handle such situations, should the unwanted occur.
Speaking to the media after the dawn exercise (which started and ended between 0300 and 0700 of Sunday, February 25), the CO offered advice to the general public that, in the event of a terrorist attack, persons within or without the attacked building, who can safely make phone calls should firstly alert the Police, then those trapped in the building should all lie on their bellies or hide behind places solid enough to prevent one from being easily hit by a bullet.
The CO further urged the country not to panick but rather increase their confidence that the military is doing everything necessary to engender the right atmosphere for further development in peace.
Other supporting units that helped in this training exercise were the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (RECCE), Military Police and 37 Military Hospital with accompanying vehicles and trained dogs.
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Accra Shopping Mall