The European Union (EU) has donated over 100 armoured military vehicles to the West African nation. These vehicles were originally seized from a ship off the coast of Libya as part of EU maritime efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.
The donated vehicles includes BATT UMG armoured vehicles, Toyota Land Cruisers, Chevrolet trucks, and GMC trucks. At least 28 BATT UMGs, manufactured by the United Arab Emirates’ The Armoured Group, were being transported by the MV Meerdijk to Libya when the merchant vessel was inspected by Irini forces on 11 October 2022.
The donation ceremony took place during a visit to Ghana by Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat. The military equipment includes various armoured vehicles, and it comes at a time when the EU is increasing support for friendly states in West Africa. The EU’s concern stems from the fear that the prolonged insurgency crisis in the Sahel, a semi-arid region south of the Sahara, could potentially spill over into the relatively peaceful coastal countries in the area.
The seized vehicles, stored at France’s Marseille port after being captured by an EU task force, have now found a new purpose through this initiative. This marks the first time such a mechanism has been employed, with EU officials stating that it was a more favorable option than destroying the vehicles.
Josep Borrell revealed that the donated vehicles are part of a €20 million support package for Ghana’s military. Additionally, the EU plans to provide further equipment, including aerial surveillance, electronic warfare systems, and river crafts. This support is expected to benefit not only Ghana but also the entire subregion in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The spillover of insecurity from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea is no longer a risk that may happen; it is a danger that is happening now. A reality that our partners cannot and should not face alone,” emphasized Borrell during his visit.
Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, underscored the importance of collaborative efforts among nations to combat the terrorist threat, emphasizing that tackling this challenge requires critical support from partners such as the European Union. The EU’s commitment to bolstering Ghana’s military capacity demonstrates the importance of regional security and international cooperation in addressing complex security threats.
In April 2020, member nations of the European Union agreed and approved a new naval mission to enforce the UN arms embargo against Libya. ‘Irini’ replaces the EU’s Operation ‘Sophia’, which formally ended on 20 March of that same year.
This is the second time Irini has seized a cargo in implementation of UN Security Council Resolution. In July, Italian Navy frigate ITS Grecale (F571) inspected the cargo vessel MV Victory Roro (previously MV Luccello) after she was located by a French maritime patrol aircraft. Subsequently, vehicles violating the arms embargo were seized.
The Ghanaian Army has been strengthening it’s mobility and logistics capabilities by acquiring tactical vehicles in the past few years. This February, it acquired 245 combat vehicles to enhance its operational capacity.
Ghana’s president and commander-in-chief Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo presented the vehicles to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in the capital Accra on 1 February. The vehicles include 70 Kamaz trucks, 20 BTR-70 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), 20 Navistar Defence Husky tactical support vehicles (TSVs), and 65 Toyota utility vehicles.
Last year May, it was announced that Ghanaian military will be receiving 70 Husky 4×4 tactical support vehicles (TSV) from the United Kingdom to help improve security in it’s northern borders. UK will also provide related training regarding the operation and regular maintenance of the vehicles. UK will also provide related training regarding the operation and regular maintenance of the vehicles.