Countering Terrorism: Ghana to host Exercise Flintlock for first time in 15 years

Ghana, for the first time in 15 years, will be hosting Exercise Flintlock 2023 in March this year.

The exercise will be co-hosted with Cote D’ivoire, who hosted it last year.

Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual special operations exercise combining military and law enforcement to strengthen African and international special operations forces’ capabilities.

The exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2005, operates on the basis of mutual respect and collaboration to advance the shared interests of regional stability.

It also aims at strengthening African Partner Nations’ abilities to provide local security, improve Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence/Information sharing between African Partner Nations and their Western allies.

This year’s edition will host over 200 participants from 30 countries and inter-agencies to develop a global Special Operators Forces network among African and International Partners.

They will also work together to enable a safer Africa with the protection of civilian populations as one of its core mandates.

Colonel William Nortey, Director of Operations, Ghana Army, advised Governments, competing agencies and groups in Africa and beyond to build mutual trust and understanding to boost the fight against terrorism.

He said the fight against contemporary threats such as terrorism could not be won by any one country, adding that, triumph over terrorism was challenging for everyone, even for well-endowed countries with resources and skilled personnel.

Col. Nortey said the promotion of peace and stability transcended national differences and, therefore, required togetherness to protect a common humanity.

He said through such exercises, the Ghana Armed Forces would be able to build on vast experiences of its sub-regional and international partners to adapt to an evolving threat that often involved new technologies.

Col. Robert Zyla, Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, said Ghana had demonstrated tremendous leadership through multilateral peacekeeping missions across the continent.

He said the participation of Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire towards Flintlock was a demonstration of their continued contribution to security efforts in the region. 

Col. Zyla said violent extremism threatened the stability not only of Africa, but also partners around the globe.

He said a safer and more secure Africa would result in a more prosperous global society and security environment.  

Col. Zyla said this year’s Flintlock would feature Civil Affairs, medical and dental civic action engagements.

“We are also working with our African partners to highlight key women, peace, and security initiatives,” he added.

He said even as they continued through the exercise, they hoped to build the foundations of a more capable international community striving towards global security cooperation.

Col. Sekongo Kitchafolwori, Special Operations, Cote D’Ivoire, thanked the organisers of Exercise Flintlock for choosing Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire to host this year’s edition.

He said Flintlock was important for all African countries and would provide training to enhance tactical and technical capabilities essential in the fight against terrorist armed groups.

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