By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The 85th Ghana Battalion currently serving in South Lebanon has marked Ghana’s 62nd Independence Day with a colourful all-women Special Forces parade held at the Battalion Headquarters located in Al-Qawzah, South of Lebanon on Wednesday 6th March 2019.
Gracing the occasion, Ghana’s Honourary Consul General to Lebanon, His Excellency Michel Haddad in his address commended the Contingent for their effort in maintaining international peace and unity.
He was full of praise for the professionalism and hard work exhibited by all personnel of GHANBATT 85 and urged them to continue to hold high the flag of Ghana.
The colourful ceremony was graced by personnel from UNIFIL Headquarters, Ghanaians living in Lebanon and some locals and school children living within the operational theatre. Guests were treated to spectacular drill performances, rich Ghanaian cultural dances, music and food.
children who attended were given amusement rides in the Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and a bite of Ghana’s rich chocolates.
The Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Fiifi Deegbe, was deployed on 30th June 2018 as part of the United Nations Interim Force in South Lebanon (UNIFIL), with a mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities and conduct day and night patrols along the frontier between Lebanon and Israel.
The mandate further includes support to the Lebanese Armed Forces to maintain internal peace and security and provide humanitarian assistance to the civil population among others.
Throughout the period of deployment, UNIFIL GHANBATT 85 has undertaken numerous humanitarian activities, including the provision of free medical and dental care to the Lebanese locals, teaching assistance to school children to improve upon quality education and aerobic lessons to improve healthy lifestyle of the locals.
In furtherance of projecting a positive image of Ghana in Lebanon, the GHANBATT Band has put smiles on the faces of the locals through provision of melodious music at festivals.
The Battalion’s engagement with the locals in sports events and effective engagement with the Mayors and Mouktars has further deepened the bilateral relationship between Ghana and Lebanon and this has resulted in several mutual cooperation programmes.