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January 23, 2014

Ghana Promises to Send Troops to South Sudan

by Peter Clottey

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama has promised to send about 850 troops to South Sudan to help stabilize the security situation in the world’s newest nation.

Mr. Mahama made the announcement following a recent meeting with Ethiopia's foreign minister Tedros Adhanom in the Ghanaian capital, Accra. The announcement also followed a request by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to Ghana for help in keeping the peace and assisting with humanitarian efforts.

“When I received the request from the UN Secretary-General, I did not hesitate to give my provisional approval…Ghana will deploy as quickly as possible to secure the lines for humanitarian assistance to come through,” said President Mahama.
 
Ghana’s deputy information minister Ibrahim Murtula Muhammed says the Ghanaian troops would soon be deployed to be part of the solution to end the conflict in South Sudan.

“You will remember that at any point in time any problem that affects any part of Africa, Ghana sees it as its own problem,” said Muhammed. “What President Mahama did was once again demonstrating our preparedness as a nation to assist our brother African countries at any time they are in need. He wants to send the soldiers to ensure that the young democracy in South Sudan is something that must not be allowed to be destroyed,” he said.

Muhammed also says with the promised troops from the Ghana Armed Forces to South Sudan, Mr. Mahama is following tradition and foreign policy initiatives of his predecessors, who he says, played key roles in ensuring peace, stability and economic improvement on the continent.

“If you look at our foreign policy position as a nation, we just don’t limit it to our interests, but we are also concerned of the interest of African and also global interest. And that is why we have contribute military contingents in [various countries],” said Muhammed. “So today if we have problems in South Sudan the president felt it is once again an opportunity for us to support our brothers in South Sudan to ensure they have peace.”

Muhammed says he hopes with the signing of a ceasefire agreement at the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the warring factions will ensure the protection of unarmed civilians who have become victims of the conflict.

“President Mahama reiterated the need for us to live as peaceful people,” said Muhammed. “[Mahama] indicated that we can no longer blame our so-called colonial masters for the recent problems that we have. We now have our destiny in our own hands.”
Clottey intv with Ibrahim Muhammed, Ghana's deputy information minister