European Union hands over 105 military vehicles to Ghana

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To fight extremism and bolster Ghana’s peacekeeping efforts, the European Union (EU) has handed over 105 military vehicles to the West African nation. The vehicles were originally seized from a Libya-bound ship.

The vehicles, including dozens of Toyota Land Cruisers, GMC Sierras and Chevy Silverados, were handed over on 28 October by Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat. They were accepted by Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo. The vehicles have armour added along with gunports and roof hatches for turrets.

The vehicles were seized from a Libya-bound vessel last year that was in breach of the United Nations arms embargo against the North African country. The EU has not disclosed the origin of the shipment or the previous owners of the cargo, but it is believed the vehicles originated from the United Arab Emirates. In July, dozens of vehicles modified for military use were seized from the Victory Roro that was en route from Jordan to Libya. BATT UMG armoured vehicles destined for Libya were seized by the EU in a separate incident in October 2022, but it does not appear these were delivered to Ghana.

In his remarks during the handover, Borrell said the EU is “very conscious that the consequences of what is happening in the Sahel and in the Gulf of Guinea, are also decisive for determining our common future.”

He added that his visit tries to demonstrate the EU’s commitment to peace and stability “with Ghana being a prominent partner, considering its crucial role in furthering democracy, prosperity and regional stability. And that is why these armoured cars were allocated to Ghana, because we believe that it was the best way of using them.”

Borrell said the spillover of insecurity from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea is no longer a risk that may happen, it is a danger that is happening now. “President Nana Akufo-Addo has recently called for more international solidarity in the fight against conflict and violent extremism. We have to fight against violence and extremism worldwide, through an alliance of people who want peace and stability. And it is absolutely clear to me that the threat caused by terrorism requires that we share the burden. Because it is a common threat. And if it is a common threat, we have to share the burden of fighting against it.”

According to Borrell, the delivery of the 105 vehicles is part of €20 million support to the Ghanaian Armed Forces. Further equipment will also be delivered in the future: aerial surveillance, electronic warfare systems and river craft. “We are confident that this support will benefit not only Ghana but the entire sub-region as well,” he stated.

The EU has “engaged a figure of €620 million for military support for the whole region,” Borrell added as the EU seeks to increase support for friendly states in west Africa amid fears that the decade-long insurgency crisis in the Sahel will expand, especially in light of recent coups and instability.