Exercise Flintlock 2024 ends in Tamale 

  Sat, 25 May 2024
Social News Exercise Flintlock 2024 ends in Tamale 

Exercise Flintlock 2024, a special exercise designed to test the operational readiness of Special Operation Forces (SOF) of countries, has ended in Tamale.

The exercise, co-hosted by Ghana with Cote d'Ivoire as the secondary host, began on May 13, and ended on May 24, in Accra, Daboya and Tamale.

It was organised by the Special Operations Command-Africa (SOCAF) of the United States (US) African Command (AFRICOM) in collaboration with the Ghana Armed Forces.

It is an annual event with an objective to enhance cooperation on trans-regional security issues in North and West Africa, and enhance interoperability, and partnership between the US and special operations force communities.

About 1,300 personnel across 34 countries participated in the exercise in addition to another dubbed: “Exercise African Lion”.

Madam Virginia Palmer, US Ambassador to Ghana, speaking to the media at the closing of the event in Tamale on Friday, said Flintlock was a multinational effort which dates back to 2005, involving partners who are concerned by the security, humanitarian and political crises unfolding in the Sahel.

She said as seen in the Sahel, violent extremism thrived in the absence of state authorities, and weak delivery of services stressing that violence prevailed when democracy got fragile.

She reiterated the need for good governance in democracy in ensuring that there was no room for discrimination in the sub-region adding “The solution to security problem is more democracy, not less.”

She said commitment to regional security was a long-term objective and indicated that Ghana's efforts were supported by international and regional partners, who appreciated the country's leadership to join African partners in resisting threats to shared values and democratic principles.

Madam Palmer said “Activities like these conducted under African Lion and Flintlock reflect our broader work in Ghana. We know that the threat of violent extremism cannot be addressed through security forces alone.”

She noted that the US Congress had approved over $85 million for the implementation of the Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability (SPCPS) in Coastal West Africa, with an additional $45 million expected this year.

She said the US had made a long-term commitment to support local communities, who were at risk of expanded conflict as they sought to solidify social cohesion, provide economic opportunities to vulnerable populations, strengthen military-to-military relationship and bolster the capacity of the Ghanaian security services to ensure that Ghana remained resilient in the face of an increasing threat from violent extremist organisations.

She said “Ghana Armed Forces demonstrated that in addition to being a net exporter of security and stability through peacekeeping, it is a capable leader in highly specialised operations as well as command and control. This is one of many reasons the United States is committed to supporting the Ghana Armed Forces through continued training and technical support.”

As part of the Flintlock and African Lion exercises, there were medical outreach events in communities in the north, where mobile clinics were provided for screenings and basic health care with the aim of building trust between at-risk communities and security forces.

Flintlock 2024 was on the theme: “Strengthening Partnerships for a Safe, Secured and Prosperous Africa”.

Exercise African Lion was on the theme: “Twenty Years of Close Partnership in Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism: Better Days Ahead.”

Lieutenant General John Brennan, Deputy Commander of the US AFRICOM said the exercises were for countries to work together for a common goal.

He lauded the Ghana Armed Forces and participating countries for efforts put in the training, which he described as demanding.

He stated that the show of collaboration during the event was evident of countries’ preparedness to support one another other in times of crises.

Major General Bismarck Kwasi Onwona, Chief of Army Staff, Ghana Armed Forces, expressed gratitude to the US African Command and partners for the collaboration and underscored the efforts of multi-national forces in countering terrorism.

He said Exercise Flintlock and Exercise African Lion provided an opportunity for Ghana and other African nations to partner with the US to train in areas pertinent to the fight against terrorism, which threatened the continent.

He said the exercise built the capacity of participating personnel, particularly in the area of sharing intelligence as it increased their loyalty to safeguarding the country's security.

Major General Onwona said Ghana, as a co-host, provided logistics for the smooth running of the events and formed the largest component of the forces that took part in the training.


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