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General News
Ghana Increase Troops In Lebanon 1/23/2007
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 that brokered the peace after the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah among other things, requested Member Countries to raise the level of UN Peacekeepers in Southern Lebanon from less than 3000 at the time to a maximum of 15,000 troops.

Ghana, which has maintained troops under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for close to three Decades, on Monday 22 January 2007, responded positively to the UN request by increasing its troops from 650 all Ranks, to 850 all Ranks.

The additional troops, who arrived at the Beirut International Airport on Monday afternoon, were met on arrival by the Consular General of Ghana to Lebanon, HE Mr Michel Haddad, the Commanding Officer of the Ghana troops in Southern Lebanon (Ghanbatt 65), Lt Col EW Kotia and some Staff Officers. At a short, but impressive welcome reception for the additional troops, HE Mr Haddad welcomed the troops to Lebanon and advised them to continue to raise the flag of Ghana very high. He reminded the troops that Ghana has calved for itself an enviable position in terms of Peacekeeping across the world and they should work very hard to sustain it. Lt Col Kotia on his part welcomed the troops and updated them on current security situation in Lebanon. He advised them to adhere strictly to all security measures that have been put in place by both the Battalion in particular and UNIFIL Headquarters in general. He added that there are confirmed threats against UNIFIL personnel and installations by Armed Elements who have infiltrated the country. He informed the incoming troops that patrols, both day and night, has been increased substantially to ensure that these Armed Elements do not freely operate in Southern Lebanon, especially in areas close to the Blue Line which is the technical line that divides Israel and Lebanon.

Lt Col Kotia also advised the in-coming troops to exhibit high standard of professionalism in their areas of responsibility and desist from doing things that would tarnish the hard-won reputation of the Ghana Armed Forces in particular and Ghana as a whole, especially at this time when a number of countries have contributed troops to UNIFIL.

The troops were later conveyed to the Battalion Headquarters at Al Matmurah in Southern Lebanon which is a few minutes drive from the UNIFIL Headquarters where the Deputy Commanding Officer of UNIFIL Ghanbatt 65, Maj Charles Ayiku, who is also the Chief Operations Officer, gave them operational briefing before dispersing them to their various companies.

It would be recalled that UNIFIL Ghanbatt 65 arrived in Southern Lebanon in October 2006 under the Command of Lt Col EW Kotia after a 6-week intensive training at the Bundase Training Camp near Accra. The Battalion was immediately launched into operational activities on their arrival which coincided with the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which called for robust day and night patrols. Under the able leadership of the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Kotia, Ghanaian troops have dominated their Area of Responsibility to the admiration of not only the Force Commander, who recently commended them highly for their professionalism, but also, Staff Officers at the UNIFIL Headquarters and the local populace.

Lt (GN) Andy La-Anyane (Press Information Officer)

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