By Agnes Ansah
Sixty officers of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) have received pre-training briefing to begin three weeks of counter-terrorism training today at Huhunya in the Eastern Region.
The training forms part of a national counter-terrorism strategy to tackle head-on any threat of terrorism that is likely to befall the country.
Speaking to the officers at the National Headquarters of GIS in Accra, the Head of Border Management, Commissioner of Immigration (COI) Isaac Owusu Mensah, explained that with the rise of terrorism and terrorist-related activities in neighbouring countries, it was appropriate that the service, as the first line of defense at the frontiers, holds itself in readiness to prevent any possible threat of terrorism.
“In the wake of all the security issues occurring in our neighbouring countries, this is a preemptive move to make sure any attempt of terrorism will be quickly responded to and nipped in the bud to maintain law and order in the country,” he said.
He indicated that after the training, the officers would form the nucleus of a new unit to be called Rapid Response at the National Headquarters in Accra, adding that it would subsequently be replicated in all the regional commands.
The Head of Border Management further explained that the setting up of the special operational team was in response to national security needs, and cited the ongoing ‘Operation Conquest Fist’ in the Upper East and Upper West regions as an example. He noted that the new unit would be a permanent stand-by team for all such operations. “This will be replicated in all the 16 regions, starting from the Headquarters, which will form the nucleus of the regional rapid response teams,” he added.
On his part, the Head of Operations, Deputy Commissioner of Immigration (DCOI) Isaac Lourtey, stated that all countries around the globe were whipping up security to prevent and deter terrorism and other organised crimes. “It is important for us to follow suit,” he added.
He entreated the officers to take the training seriously, and noted that the skills to be acquired from the training would serve as a career booster. “We hope no casualties will be recorded,” he added.
The officers are expected to undergo advanced specialised training in anti-terrorism, crowd control, and weapons handling, among others.