General News of Monday, 22 October 2018
Deputy Army Commandant at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC), Brigadier General Irvine Aryeetey, has expressed worry at the increasing numbers of deaths of African troops recorded in Peace Keeping missions.
He observed there has been a steady rise in the casualty rate of African troops over the past 5 years, a situation he asserts is in sharp contrast to that of Non-African troops.
The increasing casualty rate according to Brigadier General Irvine Aryeetey could be attributed to insufficient knowledge of troops about the particular location, inadequate research and background studies, lack of logistics and failure to adapt to modern conflict nature.
This, in his opinion, calls for urgent measures including assessment of strategies and training methods among others to address the phenomenon.
He made these remarks at the opening ceremony of a two-week training session for heads of various security apparatus at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping and Training Center in Accra on Monday.
The Deputy Commandant averred “the changing nature of conflicts today and the mutating threat of terrorism is increasingly exposing peacekeepers to danger, necessitating the need for a critical rethinking of training content used for peacekeepers. In Mali, for instance, our research identifies increasing peacekeeper’s casualties which is related to weak capacity, search and detection of mine and IEDs, limited knowledge about the country context and weak intelligence gathering as some key areas that need significant improvements for peacekeepers”
Peacekeeping mission across the globe on the decline
UNDP Country Director, Gita Welch disclosed that despite the casualties witnessed among the Peace Keeping troops, there has been a decline in operations across the globe.
This she believed marks a significant improvement that is reflective of the efforts at ending wars and conflicts globally.
Peace Keeping operations globally have reduced from 71 globally to a current figure of 14 on 4 continents.
Despite the feat, Gita Welch was concerned about the security of personnel who have dedicated their lives to the cause of peace through peacekeeping activities.
She pointed to violent actions as being one of the highest contributors to deaths of UN peacekeepers indicating the figure recorded last year was the highest in nearly two decades.
The UNDP Country Director was, however, confident that with the commitment from the UN and member countries, security personnel will be better equipped and protected to execute their mandate effectively.
“Our peacekeepers make immense sacrifices serving in some of the toughest and most dangerous places in the world, going where most cannot or will not. They have saved and improved the lives for millions of people. Protected countless civilian populations, helped prevent conflict, reduced violence and strengthened security in the field where it matters most” She praised.
Gita Welch continued “but we are here today because of our shared concern about enabling these brave women and men to carry out the jobs we ask them to do while reducing the risk to their personal security. Since 1948, some 3, 700 military, police and civilian peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving with UN Peacekeeping missions”
The training programme will be replicated in Nigeria and Mali in November and January respectively.
The course programme at KAIPTC involves representatives from selected countries across the continent and is centred on preventing terrorism in peacekeeping theatres.
It is on the theme “Improving Response Capacities to terrorism in Peacekeeping theatres in Africa.”