The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) would not indulge in gullibility with the seeming lull in activities of terrorism in the subregion, but has continued with preparations in counter terrorism exercises to help ward off or minimize the effects of potential or real terrorists attacks against the nation.
GAF, through its Special Forces and also Counter Terrorism Unit – the 64 Infantry Regiment, has continued counter terror preparations with the 2nd edition of codenamed Ex Eagle Eye, at the National Theatre, Accra, on the wee hours of Tuesday, 5th June, 2018.
The concept of the counter terrorism exercises is basically fighting off an enemy which may seek to take over a vulnerable public space or building – for all recent terror attacks in the subregion has been at public places – and may possibly have taken hostages.
Another essence of the Ex Eagle Eye, is to enable the Counter Terrorism force to familiarize with and build a database of all public buildings which have the potential of being victimised by such attacks and to also upgrade the awareness of the structure’s security systems.
Speaking to the Defence Press Corps (DPC) after the exercise, Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) FiifiDeegbe, the Commanding Officer (CO) of 64, in comparison to the first one held at the Accra Mall, expressed satisfaction with improved tactics and weapon’s system.
He further hinted that after the first exercise at the mall, personnel were sent outside the country to be specially trained to improve tactics, joint operations were organized with the Police CTU and also the troops have been equipped with laser and high beam systems.
Additionally, because all terrorism attacks are synonymous with improvised explosive devices (IED), sniffer dogs specially trained to sniff out such devices were also deployed to further aid in the successes of the exercise.
CO FiifiDeegbe also hinted that the next public building targeted to benefit from the stream of exercises would be a high rise public building anywhere in the country and that in that exercise, rappelling skills via helicopter services would be deployed to the summit of the building for the troops to assault or clear all the way down to the base of the target structure.
With reference to highly patronized eateries, he expressed the view that the security assessment levels are totally different, since for the sake of thriving business, the public has to be granted easy access, although inherent is the danger for evil minded ones to sneak through, thus, the owners could rather consider installing weapon detectors and other modern helpful devices to help lower the risks.
“We always role in the entire security architecture of the structure we deal with, hold a conference with the security system and then upon understanding their setup, make recommendations to help them save lives and property”, Lt Col FiifiDeegbe said.
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.
He paid high compliments to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) – Southern Command, for their generosity, support and guidance for the exercises to ensure that the nation is ever prepared against any form of terrorism attack.
Other units if GAF which were present to provide support for the exercise were the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (RECCE), Military Police (MP) and the 37 Military Hospital.
Terrorists’ 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 prompted GAF to scale up her antiterrorism trainings to equip her CTU to help prevent or minimise the impact of any such attack, should what seems like the inevitable occur in Ghana has thus devised new ways to organize “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 attack.
The first beneficiary of the scheme was the Accra Shopping Mall, which started and ended between 0300 and 0700 of Sunday, on February 25, 2018.
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode