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General News of Friday, 25 September 2015

Source: Today Newspaper

Navy remembers fallen heroes

Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, Defence Minister Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, Defence Minister

Ghana Navy has held its first ever “Remembrance Day” service for its officers who lost their lives in peacekeeping operations, particularly during the ECOMOG intervention in Liberia when Ghana Navy Ship, YOGAGA, was shelled.

It would be recalled that in August 1990, in the heat of the civil war in Liberia, a group of West African nations under the auspices of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took an unprecedented step by sending a peacekeeping force known as ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) to Monrovia.

The Force had troops drawn from Ghana, Niger, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

The Ghana Armed Forces provided the first Force Commander General, Arnold Quainoo, and the Ghana navy contributed two ships namely, GNS ACHIMOTA and GNS YOGAGA as part of the force.

On September 14, 1990 the Ghanaian troops who were sailing to Freetown were allegedly attacked by one of the supporters of the rebels, Prince Johnson, leaving four crew members dead and others wounded.

In a speech read on behalf of the Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, the Minister of Defence, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, indicated that September has been set aside by the navy to be observed annually as the Navy Remembrance Day in honour of those who lost their lives during the ECOMOG operation and any other loss of live in line of duty in the Ghana Navy.

According to him, the valour and gallantry exhibited by both the departed and living officers and ratings bear ample testimony to the immense contribution of the navy towards the overall success of ECOMOG to ensure peace within Liberia and the sub-region.

He noted that the invaluable contributions of the Ghana Navy towards the nation’s economic, social and political development by ensuring peace and security within the country’s maritime domain and its anti-piracy operations has brought good name not only to itself but the entire nation, giving credence to government’s efforts to rid “our waters of maritime related crime.”

Dr. Kumbuor urged all Ghanaians to learn from the exemplary selfless devotion, dedication and sacrifices rendered by “our predecessors and fallen heroes,” and expressed the hope that “we shall remain honest, loyal and dedicated in pursuing peace in Ghana and in the world as a whole.”

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, stressed that the sacrifices made by “our heroes should motivate personnel to continue to work harder adding, “Higher Command will continue to give recognition to hard work and dedication to duty. We shall recognise and reward excellent contributions of those who exhibit professionalism above the routine expectations.”

He reminded the personnel about the oath they swore as officers and ratings to go wherever ordered by land, sea or air and even at the peril of their lives and to deliver all responsibilities diligently, responsibly and responsively so as to make the nation greater and stronger.

The CNS further urged them to continue to forge ahead with enthusiasm, loyalty, sacrifice and devotion which could enable the Ghana Navy to play its role effectively towards national development.

He charged them to give off their best by taking a cue from the exemplary lives of the fallen heroes and ex-servicemen.

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