Ghana lost 120 soldiers in peacekeeping operations.
About 14,000 Ghanaians who lived in Liberia during the Liberia civil war lost their lives. It was, therefore, urgent that Ghana had to spend a lot of resources for the Ghana Armed Forces to join ECOMOG and move to Liberia to help stop the Liberian civil in the early 1990s.
Lieutenant Colonel Dan Mishio, of the Ghana Armed Forces Staff College told the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, after delivery a paper on: "The contribution of the Ghana Armed Forces to peace in the sub-region" at a Peace Day Dinner.
The Rotary Club of Tema organised the dinner, which the Meridian Rotary also attended. Lt. Col Mishio explained that Ghana Army always had to procure all their equipment before they undertook UN peacekeeping missions, to be reimbursed later, this normally caused a lot of strain on the economy.
He said the role of Ghana Armed Forces in Liberia and Sierra Leone was well known, adding that Ghanaian troops had to go to Liberia without any financial support to save lives and in this case, there was no reimbursement from the UN, because it was an ECOMOG affair. Lt. Col. Mishio told Ghana News Agency that the country had lost 120 soldiers in more than 30 peacekeeping operations in four decades, since independence.
He said Ghana's first mission undertaken in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1960 cost the country the lives of 48 officers and men and this ended in September 1963. "We did not relent in our support for peace and went to Sinai in Egypt in January 1974, with eleven contingents that served till July 1979."
Col. Mishio said their focus shifted to South Lebanon in August 1979, which was once seen as the hottest conflict area, where Lieutenant General Emmanuel Erskine was appointed the first UNIFIL Commander. Ghana Armed Forces also participated in the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) from 1992 to 1993 with only two contingents.
Col. Mishio noted that one of the most dangerous Missions Ghana participated in was the UN Armistice Mission to Rwanda. He said the troops conducted themselves so well and even in the face of the gravest danger, when other nationals were evacuating their troops, Ghanaians risked their lives and courageously stayed on in the supreme interest of peace.
"We stayed there to save lives of women, children and the elderly and demonstrated that we were indeed providing service above self". He said the Ghana Armed Forces would continue to play its role in the search of peace in the world. He said countries like USA, Germany and United Kingdom are helping with the establishing of the Peacekeeping School, which would be beneficial to Ghana and other countries in the training of peacekeepers.
Rotary Club of Tema presented selected books and a cash prize of 500,000 cedis to Miss Mary Stella Akosua Adabrah, the best teacher in basic education, Miss Ahmed Isaka, best community health nurse at Ashale Botwe and Mr Isaac Kingsley Ansah, an employee of the Ghana Commercial Bank, Tema the best worker award. The Club also presented a certificate to the Ghana Port and Harbours Authority. Mr Nestor Galley, Director of Tema Port collected it on its behalf.