12.08.2006 General News

GAF Team leaves for peacekeeping duties in Cote d'Ivoire

GAF Team leaves for peacekeeping duties in Cote d'Ivoire
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A unit of the Ghana Air Force departed Accra on Thursday for La Cote d'Ivoire to undertake air operations in support of the UN peacekeeping efforts.

This is the first time the Ghana Air Force is participating as a unit in UN operations even though they provided air support during the ECOMOG operations in Liberia.

The helicopter unit, made up of 120 all ranks, would be based at Bouake in the northern part of Cote d'Ivoire. It would be involved in operations that include medical and casualty evacuation; troop deployment and insertion; search and rescue; crowd control and dispersal; VIP escorts; night patrols and other tasks assigned them by the UN.

Two of the recently acquired MI 17 helicopters have been deployed there.

At a short farewell parade at the Accra Air force Station, Air Commodore Nana Krakue, Accra Air Force Base Commander, said the deployment opened a new chapter unprecedented in the history of the Ghana Air Force.

He said the unique position placed a lot of responsibility on the personnel because many people would keenly watch their activities.

Air Commodore Krakue said the future of the mission rested on the deployed unit's performance in its areas of operation and tasked it to live up to expectation.

"Remember a lot has been invested in training and equipping you for this mission and you are to ensure that this investment does not go down the drain.

"Whatever you do in the area of operation must be aimed at bringing honour to the nation, the Ghana Armed Forces, your families and yourself."

He cautioned them not to engage in acts of indiscipline and reminded them that they were subjected to the code of service discipline at all times, no matter the place of duty.

Air Commodore Krakue called on them to let their actions reflect the high standards of the Ghanaian soldier, because it was likely that in the course of duty they would encounter frustrations, provocations and other forms of difficulty since they were being deployed to a conflict area where law and order had slackened.

He urged them to stay clear of sexual and drug offences; money laundering and violation of human rights because they would not only be subjected to the code of service discipline pertaining in GAF but other international regulations as well.

"And be careful with offences that may have war crime implications. Remember that each of you will be personally accountable for your actions in any of these offences, and your rank will not matter.

"The punishment for any of these offences is severe and may jeopardize our chances of further participation in this and other UN operations, either collectively or individually."

Air Commodore Krakue said their continued presence in the area of operation would depend very much on the extent of public support they enjoyed there.

"This mission must not start and end with you. It must be a legacy that you bequeath to many other people after you," he said.

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