THE Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Peter Augustine Blay, has appealed to the media to co-operate with the government, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and all other stakeholders to help bring peace to Bawku and other conflict areas in the country.
The CDS debunked a recent media report that troops in Bawku in the Upper East Region had paraded some suspected gunmen naked in public.
He said investigations had revealed that the reportage had been exaggerated and that it was factually incorrect.
“Inflammatory reportage that can undermine efforts at resolving the conflict must be avoided. In this regard, we need to emphasise collective effort as our guiding principle,” he stressed.
Maj Gen Blay made the appeal at the closing ceremony of the five-day GAF inter-service shooting competition code-named, “Exercise Fireblast”, held at the Yawhima Military Shooting Range near Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The bi-annual shooting competition was to intensify training and improve upon weapon handling within the GAF, exchange training ideas and foster co-operation and friendship among the GAF.
It was also to promote the competitive spirit within the GAF and also encourage all ranks, especially young officers, as well as female soldiers, to improve on their shooting skills.
Personnel from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force competed in the M16 rifle shooting, small machine gun (SMG) shooting, Pistol Norinco shooting and falling plates.
The Army was adjudged the overall best team in the competition with 2,128 points and it was presented with a trophy and a certificate.
It was followed by the Air Force with 1,883 points and the Navy with 1,658 points in that order.
Lt Col Michael Ayisi Amoah, the outgoing Commanding Officer of the Three Garrison in Sunyani, won the best individual award in pistol shooting and was presented with a coin and a certificate, while Staff Sergeant A. Habib and Lance Corporal Sarah Darkwah, both of the Army, were adjudged the overall best individual male and female shooters, respectively, in the competition.
Major Gen Blay, in his address, urged personnel of the GAF not to be frustrated by such unfair reportage and rather be encouraged to continue to discharge their duties diligently as they had sworn to do.
He gave the assurance that the GAF would continue to explore opportunities for joint and combined training for effective mission accomplishment, as well as stand by to co-operate with civil society groups and other agencies to combat security ills plaguing the country.
The CDS called on officers and men of the GAF to continue to vigorously confront and eradicate the menace of armed robbery in the country and, in collaboration with the police, also keep the peace in conflict areas in support of civil authority, in addition to their normal functions.
Maj Gen Blay said apart from being an interesting exercise, the competition was entertaining and indicated the level of preparedness of the GAF to fulfil its constitutional mandate of defending the State.
Later at a reception at the Three Garrison Officers Mess, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, commended the personnel for their efforts at sustaining the peace and stability of the country, saying that their efforts had made Ghana an oasis of peace in the West African sub-region.
He also expressed the gratitude of the Brong Ahafo Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) to the personnel of the GAF for their continuous engagement in the maintenance of peace in the region, adding that any time the personnel were called upon, they were ever ready to respond.
Among the dignitaries who witnessed the closing ceremony were the Chief of Army Staff, Major Gen Joseph Narh Adinkrah; the Chief of Navy Staff, Rear Admiral Quarshie; a representative of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Commodore Ajimoaning Awusima; Brigadier Gen Chris K. Ocran, the General Officer Commanding the Northern Command; Rear Admiral Tahiru Munir, the Commandant of the Military Academy and Training School (MATS), and Brigadier Gen Ishmael Ben Quartey, the Commander of the Support Services.