Ghana: GIS to Have Counter-Terrorism Unit

A young Somali girl runs in front of an African Union Mission in Somali (AMISOM) armed personnel carrier, Lido Beach in the Kaaraan District of Mogadishu, Somalia (file photo).
9 September 2019

Sixty officers of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) are today beginning three weeks of counter-terrorism training at Huhunya in the Eastern Region, as part of a national counter-terrorism strategy.

After the training, the officers would form the core of a new unit to be called 'Rapid Response' at GIS Headquarters in Accra that would be a permanent stand-by team for all counter-terrorism operations.

Similar units would be created in the regional capitals, subsequently.

At a pre-training meeting in Accra yesterday, the Head of Border Management, Commissioner of Immigration (COI) Isaac Owusu Mensah, said the increase of terrorism-related activities in the sub-region occasioned the training and unit.

He said it was important that the service, which is the first line of defence at the country's frontiers, held itself in readiness to prevent any possible threat of terrorism.

"In the wake of the security issues occurring in neighbouring countries, this is a pre-emptive move to make sure any attempt of terrorism is quickly responded to and nipped in the bud to maintain law and order in the country," he said.

COI Mensah said the setting up of the special operational team was in response to national security needs and cited the ongoing 'Operation Conquest Fist' in the Upper East and Upper West regions as an example of its readiness.

He said the officers were expected to undergo advanced specialised training in anti-terrorism, crowd control and weapon handling, to enhance their capacity in the execution of their mandate.

On his part, the Head of Operations, Deputy Commissioner of Immigration (DCOI) Isaac Lourtey, stated that all countries around the globe were whipping up security to prevent and deter terrorism and other organised crime and "It is important for us to follow suit."

He entreated the officers to take the training seriously, and noted that, the skills to be acquired from the training would serve as a career booster, adding "We hope no casualties will be recorded."

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