……..As Ghana Armed Forces Serve In The Midst Of Ebola Outbreak
By Ethel Mensah, Tema
Even in the midst of the on-going Ebola crisis, Ghana has embarked upon peacekeeping mission in Liberia.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), was established by the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace process; protect UN staff, facilities and civilians, support humanitarian and human rights activities, as well as assist in national police training and formation of new restructured military.
Two Hundred and Thirty Four (240) troops, including 20 Commissioned Officers of UNMIL GHANBATT 21 of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), on Monday February 9, 2015, departed Ghana for a one-year Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia.
The UNMIL GHANBATT 21, which is under the Command of Lt Col Edward Awaribey, and ably deputised by Maj Sabastian Arhin, formed part of the first out of three chalks, who took-off from the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for Liberia, to take over the mantle of Command from UNMIL Ghanbatt 20, which is at the end of its six-month tour of duty, Commanded by Lt Col IN Paintsil.
The Mission, which is to maintain Peace and Security in Liberia, has not changed, since the operation commenced.
However, the situation on the ground, has taken a different dimension posing threat to the lives of UN personnel and locals alike with the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.
Liberia is one of the three worst-hit countries in West Africa by the Ebola Virus, which has claimed thousands of lives, including two UN personnel.
This, however, is not a deterrent to Ghana and her Armed Forces in serving under the Umbrella of the UN, this is not to say that High Command, does not care about the welfare of it troops.
But to every problem, situation or challenge, there is always a way of going around it (studying the problem, knowing its mode of spreading and its preventive measures) and still get the job done, which is what GAF has adopted.
In a telephone interview with the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Navy, Lieutenant Maxwel Fadola ((PIO UNMIL GH 21), he revealed that the move explains the Oath of Allegiance sworn by every Officer and Man upon completion of training to serve at the peril of their lives.
“It is indeed worthy to state that the GAF, has never recorded any casualty since the outbreak of the EVD in Liberia and Mali, where we currently have troops operating”, he noted.
According to him, the achievement has been made possible due to strict adherence to Command Policies and precautionary measures instituted in GHANBATT’s Areas Of Responsibility (AOR).
He said, “Chalks 2 and 3 are yet to rotate on February 14 and 19, for UNMIL GH 21 to bring the number to the required 700 troops, including 45 Commissioned Officers.
The ball, has already been set rolling on handing over and taking over, since the inception of chalk one. UNMIL GH 21 is indeed Fearless and Deadly”