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10.07.2005 General News

Jungle Warfare School to be upgraded

GNA

Achiase (E/R), July 10, GNA - The Jungle Warfare School (JWS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) is to be upgraded to international standard. This will empower the school to continue to extend training assistance to other countries in Africa, Asia, the America's and Europe, Major General Joseph Boateng Danquah, Chief of Defence Staff of the GAF has said.

He was closing a four-day Jungle survival exercise at the weekend at Achiase in the Eastern Region.

The CDS said plans were far advanced for the construction of more permanent staff accommodation and other facilities in the School. It is expected that the improvement to the School's infrastructure to build on the institution's training capacity to cater for the increasing number of students, both local and international, at the JWS.

The four-day exercise, code named, Exercise Tiger's Path 05, is a bi-annual tri-service patrol and counter insurgency and jungle warfare exercise organised on competitive basis by the JWS in the general area of Akim Achiase.

The exercise, which formed part of the activities for the 2004/2005 training year of the GAF, involved platoon size teams from the Army, Support Services, Southern and Northern Commands, the Navy and the Air Force.

It was aimed at testing their jungle craft and skills, leadership and endurance abilities to enhance inter-arm service co-operation. It was also to test at the tactical unit level, the capacity of troops to deal rapidly and thoroughly with insurgents in difficult environments, such as the jungle.

They were tested in navigation, search and rescue, offensive tactical operations, obstacle crossing and marksmanship. The teams were also tested in first aid skills in a jungle setting. A total of 85 officers and 261 men took part in the exercise. Maj. Gen. Danquah told the participants that for the GAF to sustain its ability to fight in the jungle, it was important that the jungle should be reserved for training.

He said it was in the interest of the GAF to protect the forest from illegal tree felling by chainsaw operators and to support the forestry authorities in their forest protection roles.

The CDS reminded the officers and men of the JWS on the need to cooperate with the chiefs and people of the area to preserve the jungle terrain the School operated.

He entreated them to resist temptation to plunder the forest environment, which must be preserved for posterity. "Those who will either on their own accord or will condone and connive with a third party to cause havoc to the forest through illegal felling of trees for any purposes, would be made to face drastic disciplinary action", he warned.

The Jungle survival exercise was based on a scenario where since March 2005, some imaginary armed insurgents, called the "Bongomen" led by a self-styled mercenary, Captain Fawohodi, had established training and administrative bases in the forest of the Birim South District. From these bases they terrorised villages in the district with the aim to spread through out Ghana to start an armed rebellion. The government and people of Ghana resolved not to allow the insurgents' activities to grow.

Last week, the government tasked the GAF to crush the insurgents and the High Command of the GAF took up the challenge and composed a task force nicknamed "Task Force Tiger" to deal with the situation. The forces that were deployed to quell the situation rapidly traced the insurgents to five bases and in simultaneous battles five platoons of Task Force Tiger destroyed the reinforced platoons of the insurgents in their bases.

The deployed forces were the five competing teams in the Jungle Survival Exercise.

At the end of the competition, the Southern Command of the GAF was adjudged the overall winners, while Northern Command came second. Other awards were presented to the teams for excelling in various disciplines. The Southern Command took three of the awards namely the Best Attack Team, the Best Team in Medical Evacuation and the Best Team in Obstacle Crossing.

The Air-Force team won the award for the Best Team in Navigation, while the awards for the Best Team in Range Fire went to the Northern Command.

Lance Corporal Christiana Momoyo, from the Support Services Unit was honoured for being the best female in obstacle crossing. This was the first time that female soldiers had participated fully in the physical demanding competition. The Navy team did not win any of the awards.

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