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25.01.2006 Regional News

Minister of Defence visits Sunyani

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Sunyani, Jan. 25, GNA - Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Minister of Defence on Wednesday appealed to soldiers of Three Garrison at Sunyani to monitor activities along the Ghana-Cote D'Ivoire border in view of the Ivorian crisis.

He noted that although there was relatively peaceful environment at the border post at Bondougou, there might be some challenges therefore; the soldiers must monitor activities along the border. Dr. Addo-Kufuor made the appeal when addressing personnel of the garrison at a durbar as part of a day's familiarization tour of garrisons within the Northern Command.

He said; "The Three Garrison is a frontline. No matter what happens in Cote d'Ivoire, you are to ensure the safety of Ghanaians from the violence in our neighbouring country."

The Minister of Defence said the Ghana Armed Forces had enjoyed excellent reputation among civilians and at the international level through peacekeeping operations.

He stressed the need for military personnel to maintain a politically neutral position whilst protecting the Constitution to sustain democracy in the country.

On conditions of service for military personnel, Dr Addo- Kufour said their salaries had been reviewed annually in line with prevailing economic conditions in the country.

He said developments within the Ministry over the past five years, included rehabilitation and construction of quarters and other facilities for the garrisons.

Rehabilitation works at the Three Garrison included provision of places of convenience, renovation of the sewerage system, the sewerage treatment plant and a fuel tank.

At the national level, Dr Addo-Kufour said 13 projects had been completed at an estimated cost of 29.1 billion cedis, and about 26.6 billion cedis had so far been spent on 33 projects being undertaken estimated at about 38.3 billion cedis, while 18 barracks in most of the garrisons had been rehabilitated at an estimated cost of 6.4 billion cedis.

Dr. Addo-Kufour said contracts for 15 new projects including provision of accommodation for the officer corps, underground fuel tanks, office accommodation, dormitories for recruits and eight blocks at Sunyani had been signed at an estimated cost of 28 billion cedis. "Cabinet has approved a loan of 10 million dollars to improve accommodation in all garrisons nation-wide, " He added.

Lt-Col. Abu Alhassan, Commanding Officer of the Third Battalion of Infantry commended personnel of Three Garrison for their role in keeping the security at Ghana's border with Cote D'Ivoire under control. He was optimistic that the goodwill and reputation of the military within the sub-region and globally would be sustained to improve Ghana's image as the oasis of peace.

Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) James Cole, Chief Warrant Officer of the Ghana Armed Forces urged the military personnel to see the recognition gained by the Armed Forces as a challenge to protect the status quo and improve upon it.

He appealed to them to be more patriotic and professional in their periodic military-police operations.

RSM Lore Cantor of Three Garrison on behalf of the garrison commended the Minister of Defence for the visit and was optimistic their needs would be addressed.

Dr Addo-Kufuor held closed door meeting with Lt. Col. Alhassan on technical and security issues and toured on-going projects at the garrison.

He also paid courtesy call on Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister and Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri II, Paramount Chief of Sunyani Traditional Area. Dr. Addo-Kufuor had since left Sunyani for Tamale.