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Ghana Armed Forces
Members of the Ghana Army 2nd Engineer Battalion assemble in a riot control formation during nonlethal training June 26, 2013, in Accra, Ghana, as part of exercise Western Accord 2013 130626-A-ZZ999-003.jpg
Ghanaian Soldiers 2nd Battalion Infantry assemble in wedge formation
Founded 1957
Service branches

President's Own Guard Regiment
Air Force

Headquarters Accra
Commander-in-Chief John Dramani Mahama
Chief of the Defence Staff Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie 2013 –
Military age 18 years of age (2012)
Active personnel 13,500 (IISS 2009)
Budget US $105m (2008, source IISS 2009)
Percent of GDP 2.0% (FY 2010)
Foreign suppliers  Iran
 Russian Federation
 People's Republic of China
Related articles
History Gold Coast Regiment

Ghana Armed Forces are the Army, Navy, and Air Force of Ghana.[1] The forces are supervised by the Ghanaian Ministry of Defence.[2] Ghana's supreme military commander is the President of the Republic of Ghana. The supervision of the Ghana armed forces is managed by the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff.

In 2013, Ghana agreed closer military cooperation with China.[3]

The chronicles of GAF[edit | edit source]

Ghana's modern military, Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) was formed in 1957. Major General Stephen Otu was appointed GAF Chief of Defence Staff, being appointed in September 1961. From 1966 the military was extensively involved in politics, mounting several coups. Kwame Nkrumah had become Ghana's first Prime Minister when the country became independent in 1957. Nkrumah's rule wore on, he began to take actions which disquieted the leadership of the armed forces, including the creation and expansion of the President's Own Guard Regiment. As a result, on February 24, 1966, a small number of army officers and senior police officials, led by Colonel Emmanuel Kotoka, commander of the Second Army Brigade at Kumasi, Major Akwasi Afrifa, staff officer in charge of army training and operations, Lieutenant General (retired) Joseph Ankrah, and J.W.K. Harlley, the police inspector general, successfully launched a coup d'état against the Nkrumah regime.[4] The group formed the National Liberation Council, which was to rule Ghana from 1966 to 1969.

The second coup took place in 1972, after the reinstated civilian government had cut military privileges and began to start changing the leadership of the army's combat units. Lieutenant Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, temporarily commanding the First Brigade around Accra, led a bloodless coup that ended the Second Republic in January 1972.[5] Thus the National Redemption Council was formed. Acheampong became head of state, and the NRC ruled from 1972 to 1975.

On October 9, 1975, the NRC was replaced by the Supreme Military Council.[6] Its composition consisted of Colonel Acheampong, the chairman, who was also promoted straight from Colonel to General. The others included the military hierarchy consisting of Lt. Gen. Fred Akuffo, the Chief of Defence Staff, and the army, navy, air force and Border Guards commanders respectively.

In July 1978, in a sudden move, the other SMC officers forced Acheampong to resign, replacing him with Lieutenant General Akuffo. The SMC apparently acted in response to continuing pressure to find a solution to the country's economic dilemma. Inflation was estimated to be as high as 300 percent that year. The council was also motivated by Acheampong's failure to dampen rising political pressure for changes. Akuffo, the new SMC chairman, promised publicly to hand over political power to a new government to be elected by 1 July 1979.[7] The decree lifting the ban on party politics went into effect on 1 January 1979, as planned. However in June, just before the scheduled resumption of civilian rule, a group of young armed forces officers, led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, mounted yet another coup. They put in place the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, which governed until September 1979. However, in 1981, Rawlings deposed the new civilian government again, this time establishing the Provisional National Defence Council. The PNDC remained in government until January 7, 1993. In the last years of the PNDC, Jerry Rawlings assumed civilian status; he was elected as a civilian President in 1993 and continued as President until 2001.

Army[edit | edit source]

Ghanaian soldiers during a simulated amphibious landing in Southwest Ghana

The Ghana Army is structured as follows:

  • The Northern Command with headquarters in Kumasi and the Southern Command with headquarters in Accra. In March 2000 these two commands were formed after a restructuring.[8] Previously there were three brigades: 1st Infantry Brigade (HQ in Teshie), 2nd Infantry Brigade (HQ in Kumasi) and Support Services Brigade (HQ in Burma Camp).
  • 6 Infantry Battalions of the Ghana Regiment. 3rd Battalion of Infantry, 4th Battalion of Infantry and 6th Battalion of Infantry in the Northern Command, 1st Battalion of Infantry, 2nd Battalion of Infantry and 5th Battalion of Infantry in the Southern Command.
  • 2 Airborne companies attached to Northern Command; Airborne Force
  • 1 Battalion in charge of state security; 64 Infantry Regiment (formerly known as President's Own Guard Regiment)
  • 1 Training Battalion
  • 1 Staff College
  • 2 Armoured reconnaissance squadrons of the Reconnaissance Armoured Regiment
  • 1 Signals Regiment
  • 2 Engineer Regiments (48 Engineer Regiment and 49 Engineer Regiment)
  • 1 artillery regiment (66 Artillery Regiment)
  • 1 Logistics Group.

Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) equipments overview and Military Technologies: Chamsuri (Destroyers), Mowag Piranha (Armoured fighting vehicles), Airbus EADS CASA C-295 (Military transport aircraft with Strategic airlift and Tactical airlift, and Airbus EADS CASA C-295 AEW (Airborne early warning and control), Electronic warfare aircraft, Attack aircraft, Air superiority fighters, Electronic warfare aircraft, Aerial refueling aircraft, and Westland Wessex HAS.3 with Torpedo and depth charge and marine mine rocket launchers and magnetic anomaly detectors (Anti-submarine weapon helicopter).

The Ghanaian Army relies on a mix of modern military technology. Modern M16s, AK-47s, Type 56 assault rifles and Armour equipment are standard issue, much of the secondary equipment, weaponry and military technology used by the Ghanaian military divisions and Ghanaian army group are manufactured in Russia, Iran, and China.

Peacekeeping[edit | edit source]

The Ghanaian military is recognised as one of the most professional and up-to-date armed forces in Africa. Ghana is free to commit a large proportion of its armed forces to international peacekeeping operations. Such operations are mainly conducted in Africa, while large Ghanaian forces are frequently posted across the world as elements of United Nations peacekeeping forces. The United Nations has often relied on Ghanaian forces to conduct peacekeeping operations, in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Rwanda, Kosovo, and Lebanon. Currently, Ghanaian forces are posted to United Nations peacekeeping missions as follows:

  • MONUC (Democratic Republic of Congo) - 464
  • UNMIL (Liberia) - 852
  • UNAMSIL (Sierra Leone) - 782
  • UNIFIL (Lebanon) - 651

Ghana provided the first Force Commander of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), Lieutenant General Arnold Quainoo. Quainoo led the force from July 1990 to September 1990.[9]

Air Force[edit | edit source]

Roundel of the Ghana Air Force

The Ghana Air Force is headquartered in Burma camp Accra, and operates from bases in Accra (main transport base), Tamale (combat and training base), Sekondi-Takoradi (training base), and Kumasi (support base). The Air Force's stated mission is to perform counterinsurgency operations within Ghana and to provide logistical support to the army.[10]

An order has been placed for two EADS CASA C-295 aircraft.[11]

Navy[edit | edit source]

Ghanaian navy ships

The Ghana Navy provides defence of Ghana and its territorial waters, fishery protection, and internal security on Lake Volta. It is also tasked with resupplying Ghanaian peacekeepers in Africa, fighting maritime criminal activities such as Piracy, disaster and humanitarian relief operations, and evacuation of Ghanaian citizens and other nationals from troubled spots.[12] In 1994 the navy was re-organized into an Eastern command, with headquarters at Tema, and a Western command, with headquarters at Sekondi-Takoradi.[12]

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Ghanaian Troop and Soldiers

Paramilitary forces deal with preventing and controlling civil disturbances and insurrection. Ghanaian statutory law officially prohibits civilians and foreign nationals from wearing military apparel such as camouflage clothing, or clothing which resembles military dress. Officially, fines and/or short prison sentences can be passed against civilians seen in military dress in public.[13] In addition, Ghanaian law prohibits the photographing of police or military personnel and vehicles while on duty, strategic sites such as Kotoka International Airport when in use, and the seat of the Ghanaian government, Osu Castle.[13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Ghana, accessed 15 November 2011
  2. *International Institute for Strategic Studies; Hackett, James (ed.) (3 February 2010). The Military Balance 2010. London: Routledge. pp. 309–311. ISBN 1857435575. 
  3. "China-Ghana strengthen military ties". People Daily Online. http://english.people.com.cn/90786/7655236.html. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  4. La Verle Berry (ed.), 'The National Liberation Council,' in Ghana Country Study, Library of Congress, research complete November 1994
  5. Berry (ed.), 1994
  6. "Ghana". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-76830. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  7. McLaughlin & Owusu-Ansah (1994), "The National Redemption Council Years, 1972-79".
  8. Africa South of the Sahara 2003, 32nd Edition
  9. Berman, Eric G.; Sams, Katie E. (2000). Peacekeeping In Africa : Capabilities And Culpabilities. Geneva: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. pp. 94–95. ISBN 92-9045-133-5. 
  10. Ghana air force. gaf.mil.gh.
  11. "two Airbus Military C295 for Ghana" (in Spanish). Fly News. http://fly-news.es/militar/aviones-transporte/dos-airbus-military-c295-para-ghana/. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Historical Background of The Ghana Navy". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. http://www.gaf.mil.gh/index.php?CatId=80. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ghana armed forces. gaf.mil.gh.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • General History of the Ghana Armed Forces – a Reference Volume, (Professor) Stephen Addae, Ministry of Defence of Ghana Armed Forces (sic), Accra, 2005, ISBN 9988-8335-0-4. nearly 700 pages but quite readable. Very poor bibliography.

External links[edit | edit source]

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