The Second Infantry Battalion (2BN) in the Western Region has launched a three-Day Counter-Terrorism and Multi-Agencies Inter-operability training exercise dubbed, “Exercise Western Shield 2020”.
The Exercise forms part of its preparedness to create election security awareness and ward off external threats like terrorism before, during, and after the December 7, general elections.
The 2BN, which has military operational responsibility of Ghana’s Western Territories comprising Western and Western North Regions has earmarked October 6, 2020, to October 9, 2020, for the Exercise in Takoradi.
The Exercise would involve the movement of troops and the use of blank ammunition with few explosives in controlled areas across Western and Western North Regions.
Speaking at the launch, Major Martin D. Dziedzorm Dey, Comd. The rear of the 2BN explained that the attacks on Ghana’s neighboring countries called for swift preventive and deterrent measures to be ahead of any unforeseen attacks.
He explained that the closeness of terrorist threats amidst seemingly rising political tension required that troops were trained and exercised on contemporary Internal Security Tactics, techniques and procedures, as part of deterrence, detection, delay, and devaluation of likely threats.
Major Dziedzorm pointed out that the Election Security Joint Operation Centre would develop the best strategies to handle election-related violence like ballot snatching, rioting among others with a contingency plan.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr. Kwabeba Okyere Darko-Mensah noted that the Exercise was one that would sharpen the skills and enhance the capabilities of the security agencies to deal decisively with any internal security challenges and against any external aggression.
“Looking at the preparations that have gone into the Exercise, the high morale among the men and women in uniform as well as the smart turnout for today’s program, I have no doubt whatsoever in your ability to protect and jealously guard the peace and security of the Western Region and Ghana as a whole”, he opined.
According to him, the world was now being confronted with heightened threats of terrorism, cyberwar, piracy, and insurgencies, while countries that witnessed and experienced the threats suffered the loss of lives and damage to state infrastructure and devastated economies.
Against this backdrop, he said, “there is the need to forge alliances, share intelligence and be proactive to counter these common enemies that have become more urgent than ever before for our own survival and progress”.
He said the security of the Western Region and for that matter, Ghana, should be a collective responsibility and for that matter, the exercise has come at the right time since it would enhance professionalism and monitoring of the security situation in the region and the country at large.
Mr. Darko-Mensah stated that it was imperative for the various Commanders to ascertain the level of readiness of personnel to combat multiple terrorist attacks in their area of responsibilities while testing the ability of personnel in operation involving all security stakeholders.
Later in an interview with the GNA, Staff Sergeant Nonna Sokka, Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the 2Garrison disclosed that during the Exercise, routine activities and patrols would be done concurrently at the beaches, churches, mosques, malls, key institutions, and personalities, barracks and security installations.
He said there would be a two-day simulation exercise to prepare special installations like the 2BN Headquarters, Western Regional Administration, the Bank of Ghana, and the Atuabo Gas Installation, and a route march through the principal streets of Sekondi-Takoradi to climax the Exercise.
He announced that the “Western Shield” comprises the Army, Navy, Airforce, Fire Service, Ghana Immigration, BNI, Ghana Police, Prisons, Defence Intelligence, State Institutions, and other civilian stakeholders.
Sergeant Nonna indicated that the Exercise would enhance coordination among stakeholders for improved security and called on the members of the public to have confidence in the security forces and not panic upon seeing the personnel in their midst during the Exercise.