The Ghana Army and Air Force are maiden participants in a largescale multinational counter terrorism training exercise in Agadir, Morocco codenamed “Exercise African Lion 2022” involving troops from armies of Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and the United States of America (USA), to improve abilities to plan and conduct Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) operations, improve air to ground integration, and enhance force interoperability.
A Platoon-size force who flew from the Air Force Base (AFB), Accra, on Friday, 10 June, 2022, have joined an advance team of mainly Officers – who are already engaged in theoretical Command Post Exercises (CPE) which started on June 5 – to participate in the over 5,000-troop large multinational CVE field exercises, from Saturday 11 June to Thursday 30 June, 2022.
At the Base to see the troops off, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) – Major General (Maj Gen) Thomas Oppong-Peprah and the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) – Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Frank Hanson, both urged the Ghanaian contingent to ensure they derive the best out of the training period, and to act worthy ambassadors of their country.
Maj Gen Oppong-Peprah, who has stated at other fora, the imperativeness of his troops benefiting from training with other international armies, said “today, if we are internationalizing our training, then it is because we believe in the fact that modern threats cannot be fought by only one country, it has to be by a concerted effort.”
Since assuming command of the Army, his charges have engaged in training activities in Ex CAMBRIAN PATROLS in the United Kingdom, participated in Ex FLINTLOCK in Ivory Coast and now Ex AFRICAN LION in the Kingdom of Morocco, which the General said are all geared towards building capacity to meet assigned tasks.
On the importance of joint operations and interoperability, the Army Commander pointed out how the Ghana Airforce have been instrumental in lifting land forces for training in Ivory Coast and now to Morocco.
The CAS, on his part, recalled a number of occasions when the Airforce have supported the ground troops in South Sudan, ECOMOG, Gambia and Mali, and appreciated the aircraft crew and the troops for preparedness to serve God and country, and be deployed beyond the shores of Ghana, to participate in an exercise with international forces, averring that the Ghana Armed Forces is indeed a force for good.
Besides the CPE and the 10 days field exercises in Morocco, there will be simultaneous counterpart activities in Ghana, in the Northern and Savanna Regions, that is Damongo, Daboya and Tamale, whiles Civil Military medical outreach takes place at Karaga, organized by the 37 Military Hospital and the United States Army Medical Corps.
Established in 2002 between US Marines and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, with 2022 being the 18th Episode, Africa Lion is conducted by USAFRICOM and led by US Army Southern European Task Force Africa, with the target of bringing together other partners and allies to build interoperability, strengthen relationships and increase readiness.
It is USAFRICOM’s largest exercise which has previously involved troops from all US services including National Guard and Reserve elements.
African Lion is designed to increase interoperability between the US, African and international partners, to defend the theater of North Africa and Southern Europe, from military aggression, and to rehearse joint, all-domain multinational exercises and improve on friendship between participating countries.
In the entourage of the Service Chiefs were the Commander, Army Special Operations Brigade – Brig Gen Matthew Essien, Commander, AFB – Air Commodore Joshua Mensah-Larkai, and Senior Officers from the Army Headquarters and Airforce Headquarters.