By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Bawku
Enter Day 4 of the anti-terrorism training program for participating Security services in Operation Conquered Fist – Ex EAGLE CLAWS ’21 – preparedness of the troops against any such anticipated eventualities, had become apparent to even the hard-to-convince Instructors.
On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, troops from the 11 Mechanized Battalion (XI Mech Bn), the 69 Airborne Force – Special Forces – and the Formed Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service, practiced with a scenario where they had to team up and intercept an attempt to kidnap students of a Senior secondary School.
In that scenario, troops from a detachment of the XI Mech Bn, were quick to encircle bandits who had been able to budge into a school on motorbikes and seized a number students, into an uncompleted storey building.
The Special forces were alerted and the responded by rope-dropping into the precincts of the hideout of the bandits, and were able to rescue the kidnapped, arrest the gang, handing them over to the FPU.
In an interview with Air Commodore David Akrong – Air Force Base Commander, Tamale, responsible for the 5 Northern Regions of Ghana, raised a number of issues regarding military exercises and operations, such Ex-EAGLE CLAWS ’21.
He said that many are aware of the happenings of terrorism within the sub-region and that it is appropriate that the military adopts a certain posture that sends a strong deterrent signal to persons who may be contemplating extending such activities to Ghana, and to also be prepared for any such events, should they occur.
Air Commodore Akrong revealed that the Air Force had been deeply involved in the exercise in initially lifting troops from one location to another, considering that the distances between locations of operations are very large, thus for quick movement of troops and supplies, the Air team came in handy.
In the actual play of the exercise, the Air Force provided Air Reconnaissance, Air Cover for troops, troops Air Support, and also helped the Special Forces’ insertion via rappelling, to deal with Jihadist elements, who had taken ambush positions, in the highway, to rob commuters and attack soldiers.
The Base Commander said that when the various Services work together in exercises, such as EAGLE CLAWS, it helps minimize response time, and that no one single service can work alone effectively, to achieve an objective.
He also stated that working together with other services helps build a certain confidence of ground forces, who know that they have eyes in the skies to oversee all their activities, against any surprises and also help in proper advance.
To the Air Force, he advised his men, not to see their role only as troops lifting to mission areas, but must actually focus on the Combat Support role to be played by the air team, since it gives a lot of relief to the ground forces and provide them with the air cover to be able to attack their objectives.
Present dignitaries included the Chief of the Army Staff – Major General Thomas Oppong-Peprah, the Chief of the Air Staff – Air Vice Marshal Frank Hanson, GOC, Northern Command – Brig Gen Moses Mohamed Aryee, Commander, Support Services Brigade Group – Brig Gen Matthew Essien.