The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) is developing its “Canine” training programme to help curb terrorism and drug trafficking among other forms of crime. Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Defense, said this when he commissioned a Transit Accommodation Facility, and a dog breeding kennel at the Ghana Military Police Dog Training School, also known as the National Dog Academy, in Accra on Friday.
The term “Canine” or “K9” is used by the military all over the world to refer to military dogs. It refers to the grouping or species of animals that dogs are categorized with including wolves, foxes and jackals. “The employment of well trained dogs within and along our borders should deny terrorist groups and other criminals the space needed to operate,” Mr Nitiwul said. The Transit Accommodation Facility would not only train military personnel but also other security agencies in the country.
The Minister said the present threat of terrorism made it imperative for nations and their security agencies to collaborate in different ways to defeat those threats.
“The Ghana Armed Forces, being aware of the current threats and the need for such collaboration, is developing the canine programme to be shared by all security agencies in the country, as well as the Sub-region,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction at the current successes of the Academy in spite of limited resources saying; “Your performance and zeal has enabled the Academy to locally raise, train and deploy dogs at the Kotoka International Airport and the Tema Port, to strengthen security at those key installations.
Mr Nitiwul commended the Academy for supporting other security agencies in VIP protection and crowd control.
He expressed gratitude to a number of development partners of the Academy such as the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Team, the Australian Ministry of Defense, the Spanish Embassy, the French Embassy, the Canadian High Commission and the US Embassy.
Colonel Errington Commey, the Provost Marshall of the Ghana Armed Forces, said the country had built its capacity now to use trained dogs effectively in security operations.
“We have built the capacity to train dogs to support security operations within the country now. These dogs would be deployed for tactical operations,” he said.
Colonel Commey observed that the role of dogs had become very essential in security operations and that advanced armies like those of America, Israel, Britain and Russia were all investing into dog training for such purposes.
He said the facility could house and board 40 students at a time, and would make the training programmes more effective, adding that students would now be able to stay around for training at all times of the day, which was very much needed.
The occasion was spiced by military dog display that featured tracking, obedience and protection work.
The National Dog Academy, also known as the Ghana Military Police Dog Unit, was first commissioned in June 1964, as part of a tactical Presidential Security Unit.