Soldiers

President John Dramani Mahama says Ghana is offering 120 soldiers to join troops from France and other African countries intervening in the Malian crisis.

According to the President, the Ghanaian soldiers are mainly from the engineering regiment and they will be helping with reconstructing bridges and roads.

The President said these when he met with Ghanaians resident in Ethiopia, Monday January 28, 2013.

He told the gathering that he will not disclose the current size of the Ghana Army, but said Ghana could afford to offer 120 soldiers because the country?s army is already overstretched participating in peacekeeping activities around the world.

Ghana first sent troops under the UN flag to the former Congo Leopoldville now the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1960s. In that operation Ghana contributed 8,800 troops.

And over that period more than 300,000 Ghanaian service men and women have rotated in over 63 United Nations, regional and sub-regional Peacekeeping Missions from Congo; Rwanda; Namibia; Mozambique; Liberia; Sierra Leone; Cote d?Ivoire; Darfur, Sudan; to the Middle East, the Balkans and Asia.

In addition to troops, the country is also making a financial pledge of $3 million to support the African-led force for Mali (AFISMA).

International leaders pledged more than $600 million, including more than $120 million from Japan and $96 million from the United States, at a donors conference held Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to support military operations against Islamists and for humanitarian aid in Mali.

Islamist militants took advantage of a military coup in the country in March 2012, and took over the country, dividing it into two. They imposed Sharia in a number of cities in the north which they controlled.

France launched a military operation January 11, 2013 to take over control of the country when it became clear the Islamists appeared close to marching to the capital Bamako in the south.

Source: Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, back from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia/ghanabusinessnews.com

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