Ghanaian peacekeepers serving with UNIFIL celebrated their country’s 61st Independence Day by organizing a series of events, on 6 March, in the Ghanaian Battalion (GHANBATT) Headquarters in Al-Qawzah and the Mission Headquarters in Naqoura.
In the GHANBATT Headquarters, the peacekeepers held a flag raising ceremony, displayed cultural items and organized a photo exhibition. In Naqoura, they organized a traditional food bazaar. The peacekeepers used the day to showcase their rich traditions, culture and cuisine.
Several UNIFIL peacekeepers as well as local dignitaries, including mayors, attended the events. UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary attended the food and musical event in the Erskine House, Naqoura, while UNIFIL’s Sector West Commander Brigadier General Rodolfo Sganga graced the flag raising ceremony in Al-Qawzah.
In his remarks to the Ghanaian peacekeepers, Major General Beary hailed Ghana’s contribution of 131 female peacekeepers to UNIFIL, the highest among the Mission’s 41 troop contributing countries (TCCs). As one of the largest TCCs, Ghana accounts for about 870 of UNIFIL’s 10,500 peacekeepers.
In marking an open day, on 7 March, Ghanaian peacekeepers opened doors of their military posts to young students from UNIFIL’s area of operation as a way of strengthening its ties and relationship with the local population. Then students were given the opportunity to see military vehicles and other equipment used in conducting its operational activities.
On 6 March 1957, the West African country gained independence from British rule.
Currently, Ghana is the 10th largest contributor of troops to UN Peacekeeping operations worldwide. UNIFIL’s first Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Emmanuel Erskine was also from Ghana.