General News of Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) confirmed on Monday that it is ready with its contribution of mainly Engineer corps under the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in its planned operations in Mali.
Speaking to Xinhua via telephone, Director of Public Relations at the GAF, Colonel M'Bawine Attintande, said the troops, comprising 120 soldiers, were ready to move at any time.
"The decision has been made. The 120 personnel have been fully trained and we are fully ready with equipment, waiting for orders to move in," Col. Attintande assured.
He said the troop is prepared and equipment has been allocated for the Specialist Engineers Squadron to be sent to work under the ECOWAS and African Union intervention force in the Sahellian country, which has been under pressure from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Islamic group, Ansar Dine.
The decision to send Ghanaian troops, Col. Attintande explained, hinged on the request made by the ECOWAS to all member-countries to contribute troops with different expertise to the African Union Regional Intervention Force yet to be deployed in Mali.
Other countries which have already prepared troops for the regional force include Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
The MUJAO and their allies, believed to have close ties with al- Qaida, wrestled much of northern Mali from government control in 2012 in the aftermath of the military coup in that country.
Following the United Nations (UN) Resolution 2071 passed by the 15-member Security Council last October, ECOWAS offered to send a force of about 3,000 soldiers to stabilize Mali, rebuild the country's shattered army and help drive the militants from the north.