|Lebanon Honours Ghanaian Soldiers|
|Saturday, 21 November 2009 08:28|
The Lebanese Government has honoured ten Ghanaian soldiers whose contributions were felt on many levels notably humanitarian, civil and peacekeeping operations.
These officers include two Force Commanders, they are; Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Erskine and Lt. Gen. Seth Obeng, four Deputy Force Commanders; Brig. Gen. Odei, Brig Gen. Nguah, Brig Gen. Kattah and Brig. Gen. Bob Winful.
The rest are four Force Sergent Majors ,Warrant Officer Class One Bawa Bezua; Chief Warrant Officer Class One, Adu Yaw; Senior Warrant Officer Class One, Gbertey and Senior Warrant Officer Class One Frempa Moses.
Speaking at the ceremony in Accra yesterday, the Minister for Defence, Hon. Joseph Henry Smith expressed his appreciation to the Lebanese government for the recognition shown to the efforts of the Ghanaian soldiers.
According to him, even though Ghana has troops currently deployed in five United Nations missions, and have had a lot more in the past, this is the first time a gesture of appreciation is being extended to the peacekeepers in such a manner.
Hon. Smith indicated that Ghana's deployment into Lebanon started with the appointment of General Erskine as the first Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1976.
He further stated that he was joined by the first Ghanaian battalion in 1978 which was deployed from UNIFIL 11 in Sinai, Egypt. Since then, a total of 61 battalions involving over 48,000 officers and men have served from Ghana.
Hon. J.H. Smith also explained that Ghana has not only provided troops for the UNIFIL operation but also leadership.
“Our participation in UNIFIL operation has come at a cost. To date, a total of 30 Ghanaian peacekeepers have made the supreme sacrifice in the interest of peace in Lebanon, with over 300 soldiers bearing the scars of injury sustained in Lebanon, he said.
Hon. Smith noted the sustained peace being enjoyed by the people of Southern Lebanon and the resultant infrastructural development, adding that, 'I feel gratified that the sacrifices made by Ghanaian soldiers have not been in vain”.
Lt Gen. Emmanuel Erskine an awardee, added that as the government of Lebanon expresses its appreciation to the government of Ghana by hounoring them, it is equally appropriate for the Ghana Armed Forces to celebrate for having served the cause of peace in Lebanon continuously without any interruption, for the past 30 years.
This, he said, is a monumental achievement by any international military standards and Ghana Armed Forces should be extremely proud.
Source: ISD (Antoinette Mintah)