Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has refuted news publication that the United Kingdom (UK) intends deploying special forces to Ghana.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the attention of the Government of Ghana had been drawn to a news item carried by a media outlet in the UK and some media houses in Ghana dubbed “British soldiers expected in Ghana after withdrawal from Mali.”
It noted that the story alleged that the British Government had taken a decision to send 300 special forces units to Ghana to support the Accra Initiative.
The statement said the Government of Ghana had no interactions with the UK Government aimed at deploying UK soldiers to Ghana for purposes of operations as described in the story.
It said the Accra Initiative (AI) was a cooperative and collaborative security mechanism, launched in 2017 under the leadership of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with his colleagues from Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast and Togo.
It noted that the current members of the Initiative were Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali and Niger.
It said the Initiative aims to prevent a spillover of terrorism from the Sahel and to address transnational organized crime within the common border areas of member states.
The statement said the initiative was to further exchange intelligence, build capacity and undertake military action against terrorist forces in the Sahel that threaten coastal west Africa.
It said the Accra Initiative is an African-led, African-executed initiative which would depend solely on the armed forces of its member States.
It said the presence of the UK Minister for the Armed Forces in Accra, was to participate in the Accra Initiative Conference on 21st and 22nd November 2022.
“The Government of Ghana wishes to state that the information regarding British special forces is false,” it said.
“Neither Ghana nor any other member of the Accra Initiative has discussed with any partner, any such request nor contemplated the involvement of foreign forces in any of their activities.”
The statement noted that some persons on social media had already leapt on the back of the false news item to spread vile accusations against the Ghana Government.
“We urge all patriotic Africans, including Ghanaian patriots, to not fall into the trap of disinformation, misinformation, and fake news that are intended to divide our societies and undermine our unity of purpose,” the statement said.
It said while the member states of the Initiative appreciate the partnerships they share with the international community, either on an individual basis or collectively, the kinds of support envisaged under the Accra Initiative would not extend to the involvement of foreign troops.
It said Mr James Heappey, the British Minister for the Armed Forces, clarified the position in an interview he granted the BBC World Service.