Ghana’s Armed forces have begun a four day military exercise dubbed “tigers path” to prepare the army to deal with any military insurgency. The army said the exercise would also serve as a deterrent to people it claims might be planning to destabilize the country. It adds that the training would enhance the capabilities of Ghanaian peacekeepers employed around the world in jungle warfare, against possible hardened rebel factions who operate in the forest.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Nyaka is the Commanding Officer of the Jungle Warfare School. From Achiase near the capital, Accra, he tells VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that for the army to be effective in performing its constitutional mandate, its members should be adequately trained.
“The exercise is code named ‘exercise tigers path.’ It is an exercise we conduct once every two years. The aim of this exercise is to test a cross-section of the armed forces in jungle skills and craft, junior leadership, endurance, and inter-service cooperation. It’s also aimed at testing sub-unit skills in jungle navigation, search and rescue, offenses, tactical operations, obstacle crossing, and shooting skills. We also practice first aid skills in the jungle, and it also enhances cooperation and spirit décors among the participants,” Nyaka noted.
He denied the exercise is based on intelligence report about a planned subversion of the government of President John Kufuor.
“No, this is not true. The whole scenario is a fictitious one, and this is a regular armed forces exercise. It’s not based on intelligence or anything. We just prepare,” he said.
Nyaka said the exercise is to equip the Ghana army personnel to be ready for any assignment, wherever they may find themselves in any part of the world.
“Basically, you know as an armed forces, our traditional role is to defend the country, the territorial integrity of Ghana, by land, by sea or air, and to be able to do these things we must train. Secondly, we participate in a number of peace support operations, and in my experience or the experience of most Ghanaian soldiers, our deployment in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’voire, and the DR (Democratic Republic of) Congo. We were deployed in tropical jungle terrain, and we found this training very handy. So in fact, we excel among the lot because we have this experience of living in the jungle,” Nyaka pointed out.
He said the Ghana Armed force is trying to better the relationship with civilians.
“You know, we have had a checkered past, I mean the military. And we are doing everything to improve civil military relations. So such exercise covers a very vast area, and we are able to interact with the locals. We offer them medical treatment. Some of them enjoy watching some of our exercises. And it is really endearing us to the civil populace because we want have a better relations with our civilians so that we can erase the past, that the military are only there to subvert the government,” Nyaka said.