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UN Certifies Ghana APOTS


Ghana Army (GA) has chalked a significant milestone in ensuring effective Peace Support Operations (PSO), as its Army Peace Operations Training School (APOTS) has been awarded United Nations Training Recognition certification.

Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) – Major General (Maj Gen) Thomas Oppong-Peprah gave a plaque, flag and certificate to the Commander, APOTS – Colonel (Col) Clement Kojo Dingane, on Thursday May 18 2023, to signify formal acknowledgment – a task achieved within the shortest time in the history of UN Training Recognition process.

Actually, the school was awarded the United Nations Training Recognition Certificate, signed by The Under-Secretary General, Department of Peace Operations – Jean Pierre Lacroix on 11 February 2023, after a vigorous assessment of the training materials of the school was followed by a four-day onsite visit by the United Nations Training Assessment team.

In a speech, the Ghana Army Commander, narrating what birthed his desire leading to the attainment, said Ghana, noted as the “Land of Peace and Tranquillity” in a turbulent region, and further espoused in successful participation in PSOs worldwide, and the willingness to share same with other nations, established the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).

General Oppong-Peprah continued that with the KAIPTC targeting operational level training for mid-level commanders and staff/advisers, a structured training gap was identified with the training of contingents at the tactical/junior level. To address this gap, he initiated the creation of APOTS – established on 20 June 2021 at the Battle Training Camp, Bundase. APOTS was then tasked to plan, organize and conduct training for all units/personnel earmarked for deployment on international PSO assigned to the Ghana Army, and to undertake related activities involving allied and foreign military personnel.

The COAS then further charged Col CK Dingane to secure United Nations Training Recognition for the training package, design a corresponding certificate with UN logo for every soldier who successfully completed Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) conducted by APOTS.

He acknowledged the support of the United States Government for facilitating the supply of water to the training Camp from Kpong, and to organizations who supported the construction of accommodation facilities at APOTS, such as: Prolicon Plus Ltd, Structures and Logistics, Gulf Energy, Legon Cities Football Club, C&G Aleska Ltd, M&C Properties Ltd, AngloGold Ashanti and Imperial Homes. Maj Gen Oppong-Peprah additionally highly-mentioned Air Vice Marshal Frank Kofi Hanson (Rtd), Maj Gen Joseph Prince Osei-Owusu – Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Brig Gen Matthew Essien – General Officer Commanding, Northern Command, for supporting infrastructure provision for APOTS.

He further acknowledged Commanding Officers (CO), who during their pre-deployment training, solicited for funds for various projects at the school, namely; Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) JY Kwarteng – a 100-Seater Lecture Room, Lt Col Prince Tandoh – a borehole and renovated part of the cookhouse, Lt Col E Poku – renovated and expanded Officers’ Matambo, Lt Col Edward Sarpong Appiah – renovated a 50-man accommodation, and Lt Col Dominic Ampomah – renovated the camp’s Regimental Aid Point (RAP).

Col CK Dingane and staff have constructed a 900-capacity Social Centre, a Water Purification Plant, a 100-seater Staff Dining Hall and Kitchen, procured a tricycle, and are working a 100-acre unit farm for maize, coconut, cashew, mango and vegetables. In a welcome address, the Commander, Army Training Command (CATRAC) – Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Stephen Woseadzikpo Kweku Parbey, said until June 2021, troops going on peacekeeping missions reported to the Battle Training Camp (BTC) with their COs and trained on anticipated mission activities and tasks, without a permanent and structured body at the BTC to coordinate, impact lessons and conduct an evaluation of the training undertaken.

Brig Gen Parbey said the school is now positioned to accept personnel from the West African sub-region and beyond for training, thus placing it on a steady course to become one of the several strategic assets of Ghana. He concluded that a significant number of permanent facilities, such as a state-of-the-art multi-purpose auditorium, accommodation units, classrooms and other important structures – some funded personally by the COAS – have been put up since the establishment of the school, to support its core mandate.

The granting of the UN training recognition certificate automatically upgrades the standard of APOTS internationally, and affirms that APOTS training content is comparable to any other UN accredited institution worldwide. APOTS will soon commence training partnership with sister countries in the region, and will conduct short duration tactical courses in PSO and undertake research in same, and develop reference materials to establish a PSO library.

Whole battalions of foreign military or police intending to participate in peacekeeping missions, can have Pre-Deployment Training at APOTS, and so can civilian organizations benefit, with APOTS’ current capacity to host 800 persons. Some of the completed missions GAF has participated in are UNMIL (Liberia), UNAMSIL (Sierra Leone), UNAMIR (Rwanda), UNOCI (Cote d’Ivoire), and MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo). Ongoing missions are UNMISS (South Sudan), UNIFIL (Lebanon), MINUSMA (Mali), UNISFA (Abyei), ESSMGB (Guinea-Bissau) and ECOMIG (The Gambia).

Prior to the establishment of APOTS – administered as one of the schools under the Army Training Command (ATRAC) – GAF personnel earmarked for PSO were trained by the Directorate of Army Peacekeeping Operations (DAPKOP), with the support of development partners.

Other dignitaries present at the event included the National Coordinator, Ghana Boundary Commission – Maj Gen Emmanuel Wekem Kotia, Commandant, Training and Doctrine Command – Maj Gen Bismarck Onwona, the Commander, Operation Koundanlgou – Maj Gen Michael Ayisi-Amoah, Senior Officers, COs and Officers Commanding, Head of the Office of Security Cooperation, Embassy of the United States of America, Acting Sergeant Major of the Army, Regimental Sergeant Majors, Soldiers, and Defence Civilian Staff.