By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, JWS Achiase
The much anticipated biennial counter insurgency and jungle warfare competition for all six Commands of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), has begun in earnest at the Jungle Warfare School, with call for multi-agency and collaborative approach in dealing with the threat of terrorism facing Ghana, by the Chief of the Defence Staff – Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Obed Boamah Akwa.
The 4 day tri-service counter insurgency and jungle warfare exercise and jungle warfare exercise on competitive bases for the Northern, Central, Southern Commands, Support Services Brigade, Navy and Air Force of GAF and started on Tuesday 23rd July, 2019.
The exercise is aimed at testing platoon size sub-units drawn from the Army Commands, and Formations, Ghana Navy and Ghana Air Force in jungle craft and skills in a counter insurgency setting and is tailored to sharpen the skills of members of GAF, in order for them to be combat ready to deal with potential threats to the peace and security of Ghana.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony, General Akwa said that recent wave of terrorist attacks across the globe, especially in our West African sub region, has been of concern to government and to the military high command and the reality is that, civilian community, security services and civil authorities, face the same level of security threats.
General Akwa stated that internal security and counter insurgency operations are conducted to assist the civil authorities to maintain or restore law and order in affected areas, and it is the civil authorities need to understand the military’s modus operandi and more importantly, to support every stage of such operations to ensure success.
“The general public also owes it a duty to compliment the efforts of the security agencies by providing timely information about the movements and activities of insurgents to be dealt with decisively, just as the media, both private and public, are crucial in mobilizing public opinion locally and internationally to support the operations of the security services.”
“I am aware of the intensive and extensive training that competing teams have undertaking towards this exercise and I believe that the competitive spirit would be brought to bear fully during the exercise in order to make it meaningful, interesting and purposeful”, General Akwa added.
The exercise has been designed to test a cross section of GAF at the platoon level, the jungle skills and craft, small unit leadership, unit cohesion, endurance and inter service cooperation it is also to test sub unit skill in navigation, search and rescue, offensive tactical operations, obstacle crossing, marksmanship, helicopter vectoring and marshalling drills.
The exercise further aims to test participants on international humanitarian law or the law of armed conflict, especially on the protection of civilians in internal security and counter insurgency operations.it is also to test first aid in a jungle setting, to enhance cooperation and esprit de corps among GAF, towards building capacity for joint operations, to improve upon the understanding of the role of the civil authorities and the general public as a whole in their response, during internal security and counter insurgency situations.
The CDS concluded that the exercise is going to be mentally and physically demanding and “I expect and demand that the umpires would be completely neutral and fair in their assessments such that the order of merit would be the true reflection of the teams’ performances.”
THE GENESIS OF EX TIGER’S PATH
EX TIGER’S PATH begun in 1991 under the command of the then Commandant of the Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS), Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Lawrence Appah and the then Commanding Officer (CO) of the Jungle Warfare School, Lt Col Augustine Peter Blay, who later became the CDS.
It is a biennial exercise organized on competitive basis among the Services and Formations of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) namely: Northern Command, Southern Command, Support Services Brigade, the Navy and the Air Force.
The inception of the exercise involved a ’Search and Rescue (SAREX)” in which participants marched on a long navigation in the jungle, in search of fallen and wounded combatants, who had gone on helicopter patrols.
It aimed at testing the mental and physical agility of participants as they patrol in difficult terrain for days and nights. Over the years, the exercise has seen modifications to meet growing security challenges, as some tactical additions to the present day EX.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF EX TIGER’S PATH 2019
The 2019 Edition of EXERCISE TIGER’S PATH is aimed at testing a cross-section of GAF in jungle operations and Internal Security and Counter Insurgency Operations at the sub-unit level and it is also designed to enable the various Formations to practice administration of Units in the held and accompanying logistics requirements.
The scope of the Exercise covers, among others, such tactical drills as Battle Procedure, First Aid, Tactical Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC), Improvised River Crossing drills, Platoon administration in the jungle, Offensive Operations in Jungle Setting, Helicopter Vectoring and Marshaling Drills, Marksmanship, Physical Fitness, Endurance, Confidence Building and Patrolling Techniques.
The rest are Jungle Survival, Combat Triage, Medical Evacuation, Navigation, Ambushes, Offensive Operations, Obstacle Crossing and Range Work. The 2019 Edition is the 14th in the series.
MISSION ROLES OF JWS
The Mission of JWS is to train officers and men of GAF in Internal Security, Counter Insurgency (IS/COIN) and Jungle Warfare in order to ensure that the soldier is well equipped to fight during jungle operation. JWS performs the following roles: Assist Units and in their Jungle Warfare training and exercises. Organise GAF exercises in IS/COIN and Search and Rescue operation in a jungle setting.
Try new equipment to be procured by the GAF to ascertain their suitability for jungle operations and the Ghanaian environment in general, including other African countries.
Develop techniques and doctrine for jungle operations. Responsible for Internal Security role in the Birim South District, Achiase District, Asene/Manso/Akroso District and Birim Central Municipality.