Ghana has received 105 armoured vehicles from the European Commission (EU) under military aid to boost the country’s border security with its neighbours in the West Africa region.
The vehicles include 13 Land Cruiser pick-ups, 10 GMC Sierras and Toyota Land Cruisers, Toyota single cabins, as well as Chevy Silverado and Sierra pick-ups.
The militarised vehicles are expected to boost efforts by the Ghana Armed Forces to secure the northern frontiers of the country free from the activities of terrorists operating in the neighbouring Burkina Faso and the Sahel region.
President Akufo-Addo, who commissioned the militarised vehicles last Saturday at the Ministry of National Security premises, said no single country can fight terrorism and violent extremism just by itself.
The President said the latest attempts by terrorist groups operating in the Sahel to extend their activities to coastal West Africa are clear, which pose a substantial security risk to the people and stability of Ghana.
He said recent happenings of terrorist activities in neighbouring Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin underscored the urgent need for Ghana to enhance her counterterrorism measures to secure the country’s territorial integrity.
President Akufo-Addo said the vehicles would play a major role by fortifying Ghana’s northern frontiers against terrorism and assured the EU of Ghana’s commitment to utilising the militarised vehicles, for the agreed purposes, as well as securing the country’s northern frontiers against terrorist incursions.
Ghana, President Akufo-Addo indicated, stands ready to collaborate with the European Union as always to safeguard the nation’s 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.
The Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles, who donated the vehicles said the spillover of insecurity from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea is a reality, “a reality that [the EU’s] partners cannot and should not face alone.”
“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,” he said.
Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles, who is also the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said the time had 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,” Mr Borrell Fontelles 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 cooperation – €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.
The National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah, extended Ghana’s appreciation to the European Union for the assistance offered in the quest to secure her northern frontiers and her territorial integrity as a whole.
Mr Kan-Dapaah emphasised that the EU donation is a critical milestone in Ghana’s journey to enhance its security and counterterrorism efforts.
The donation, he said, is a result of the mission President Akufo-Addo set for the heads of Ghana’s security architecture roughly two years ago, which has been fulfilled.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD