The Ghana Air Force's second CASA C295 pictured in Spain enroute Ghana(8 March 2012)

The Ghana Air Force’s second CASA C295 pictured in Spain enroute Ghana(8 March 2012)

2 February, 2013

General Sir David Richards, Chief of Defence Staff of the United Kingdom on Saturday held a closed-door meeting with President John Dramani Mahama at his Cantonments residence in Accra.Although, journalists were not permitted to cover the programme, it is believed that they discussed a range of issues including the the restoration of peace in Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, among other countries on the continent.

Also in attendance were Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith, caretaker Minister for Defence and Mr Mark Woyongo, Minister designate for Defence.

Colonel M’bawine Atintande, Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Armed Forces, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said the UK military command had promised to provide an aircraft that would airlift about 120 Ghanaian military men, mostly from the 69 Engineers Regiment on February 15 and 16 this year.

He said Ghana and the UK have had long-term training exchange programmes and the visit was to invigorate the relations. Colonel Atintande said the Ghana Armed Forces would strengthen their relations with their partners to enable them to execute all their goals in the coming years.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. beegeagle says:

    Africans really do not want to help themselves or we are just hooked on freebies? Ghana took delivery of two new C295s in 2012. What do they need help with airlift for whereas 8amako is barely 600 miles away from Tamale in northern Ghana?

    Togo is farther removed from Bamako. They have undertaken arduous 3-day road trips to get to Bamako from Lome and are already on ground in Mali.

    With C295s which are larger than G222s with which the NAF airlifted NAF airmen and ground troops alike from faraway Port Harcourt to Niamey in Niger, I am just wondering why the Ghana Air Force cannot just move their own people. A C295 carries 71 troops in one sweep. With both C295s, they can airlift all those guys and their equipment in TWO DAYS.

    Oh well..

    • originalpato says:

      Oga Beeg, at times I tire with Black man. To airlift 120 “Engineers” is a problem for our neighbours. But they will not hesitate to do anything to paint us bad.

    • Akin Oges says:

      That nation have conveniently forgotten that these kind of behaviour hardly go unnoticed. She might be enjoying economic affluence and political stability at the moment, but tomorrow bears a ‘baby’ we human beings cannot tell in a world fast flowing with complicated dynamics. Not to worry, we have comity of nations putting themselves out; her inconsequential contribution is neither here nor there really.

    • kyallkelvins says:

      πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  2. beegeagle says:

    Sometimes, we tend to say stuff which many might not find comfortable. But this is just being authentically me. The astrologers would say a Taurean is blunt and practical, with little appetite for double speak.

    Please lemme ask these questions again because one cannot change his spots at this age.

    – I have asked why Ghana are sending a 120-man construction engineer squadron whereas a tiny, more stable and farther removed country such as Benin are sending 300 combat troops – in case the matter is that Ghana are unaffected? Tiny, diligent Togo have revised upwards and are sending 733 combat troops, all of whom have arrived in Bamako after tedious 3-day roadtrips!

    – I have said before now that a global media operator which is famous for antagonising Nigeria is all too often caught in its absolutely partial habit of covering up gaffes and sparing Ghanaian blushes.

    That faithless operator have since harangued Guinea’s President Alpha Conde on air using a supposed media chitchat as platform, asking why Guinea are sending only 150 COMBAT TROOPS but have not asked why Ghana, the second most populous country in West Africa are sending the smallest troop contingent and wait for it, 120 CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERS?

    – On FRIDAY and just to ‘ambush’ Nigeria as always, this same global operator ran a story which claimed that Nigerian troops are deployed at Banamba, to the south of Bamako. They made the point of trying to suggest that Burkinabe and Togolese troops have deployed closer to the northern frontlines – albeit it in towns liberian by the French-Malian onslaught.

    That was a horrendous lie steeped in their traditions of wickedness. Banamba actually lies 150 kilometers to the northeast of Bamako and is the only town in all of southern Mali which had been infiltrated by militants. Whereas the said Burkinabe and Togolese troops were deployed in towns ‘swept’ by a joint French-Malian effort, Nigerian troops remain the only African troops to have advanced on a rebel-held/rebel-infested/rebel-threatened town in Mali, all by themselves.

    It is unfortunate that this global operator, either to assuage flagging egos within their conclave of disaffected Africans or to demonise Nigeria, continue to propagate lies.

    Even the task of defending the national capital could in the long-run become the most challenging task. ECOMOG showed that in Liberia and Sierra Leone, ISAF have shown that in Afghanistan and Iraq(did Americans not defend Baghdad). Not to mention Kinshasa where, during the 2nd Congolese Civil War and with most of the fighting raging in the far east of the country, it fell to Angolans and Zimbabweans to defend the national capital in what turned out to be the defining battle of that war – as an onslaught aimed at capturing Kinshasa by Congolese rebels backed by Rwandese and Ugandan troops, was beaten by back Zimbabwean and Angolan troops.

    So for this global operator, in propagation of blatant falsehood to claim that Banamba lies to the south of Bamako, both of them highly strategic population centres, shows how far they would go to demonise Nigeria. The goal was to show that Bamako was the most southerly city of significance but they went so far as to LIE that Banamba is situated to the south of Bamako whereas it actually lies 150kms to the northeast!

    Those are the supposedly impartial journalists which some of us appear oblivious to their antics and not-so-professional shenanigans.

  3. peccavi says:

    Strategy is not shakara abeg people stop taking panadol for another mans headache. If Ghana wants to send a company, which one concern us? If they send a division, which one concern us? For every combat soldier you need about 3-5 support and combat support troops. Other than the Nigeriens and Chadians who else do we know has sent support troops? In this COIN phase the skills of combat engineers will be paramount, so first off all stop being seduced by the sexy stuff, engineers are not to be sniffed at. Secondly stop being seduced by follow follow mentality, if Ghana has decided a Company is all they can afford then its good they are sensible enough to recognise their own strengths and limitations. Third stop taking panadol for another mans headache, Nigeria is the most powerful nation in West Africa and but for the depredations of our rulers would be the most powerful nation in Africa and one of the most powerful in the 3rd world. Ghana is not in our peer group so what they do should not be the subject of so many write ups and insults. The fashion journalist has closed her mouth why do we keep giving her airtime? Why they don’t transport their own troops and equipment is beyond me but maybe they are content for the Brits to pay for it.
    Finally Nigerian forces did not ‘liberate’ Banamba. That article is either the worst military journalism I’ve seen in a while (and the bar is very low) or a deliberate attempt to embarrass Nigeria. You cannot liberate a town that is still in friendly hands and that is well below the front line. All that has happened is that Nigerian troops are garrisoning the town and using it as a concentration area while we form up. There was no danger of infiltration, almost 2 weeks ago a column of insurgents was reported to be heading in its direction, that’s all. It was never captured, under threat or in need of liberation. If Nigerian troops drive into a town in friendly hands it is not a liberation its a logistics move. Lets not embarrass ourselves by hyping things.
    Nigerian troops are not yet deployed in combat and that is not a bad thing, we do not need to prove ourselves to anyone. There is more than enough war and enemy in Mali to keep us all busy so please let us be sensible and patient and not try and claim things that are not true. Our soldiers will be in combat, people will die and get injured. Reputations will be made and lost. There will be blood, there will be lots of blood, so please lets be careful what we wish for

    • Number one says:

      ‘We don’t need to prove ourselves to anybody’.you are right on that score.

    • wocon45 says:

      Oga Peccavi, na true you talkoo! don’t see reason to drink panadol for another man’s headache. Frankly speaking Ghana can decide to go to Mali by sailing to Egypt and crossing the desert and I wont give a damn!. Fact remains, dem no try at all case closed.

    • jimmy says:

      OGA Peccavi you are right on almost all accounts except one .LOOKED UP THE MAP RECENTLY Ghana actually SHARES A BORDER with MALI TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN MUCH IS EXPECTED FROM GHANA should not turn in to Costa RICA ..You are right Nigeria does not have/ nor need to do any explaining to anyone so that you have adequately summed up . However with a brand new medium troop carrying plane they ought to carry their own men THIS IS MY GRIPE African regardless of contribution must learn to solve their own problems especially when they have the tools themselves.Apart from that and as an owner of a German shepherd ( Alsatian) I like the proverb THAT YOU DO NOT COMPARE A LION WITH A DOG.

  4. originalpato says:

    Oga Peccavi, Beeg has a right to gripe about the lady till infinity. If they were sending COMBAT ENGINEERS it would have been very much appreciated. If the lady can spread false information without bashing that too would have been ignored by most on this blog. but she can’t make a report without ridiculing Nigeria. It has now gotten to the point, everybody now assumes she is an authoritative source on everything West African.

    Oga Beeg, instead of only moaning about her on your blog, I suggest you start protesting to her employers the Guardian.

    • doziex says:

      @originalpato, I really believe that beeg or all of us griping to the UK guardian, wouldn’t make a lick of a difference.

      As the UK guardian is the one behind the anti nigerian slant. Afua is just the ink.

    • peccavi says:

      An engineer is an engineer whether defusing IEDs or building FOBs or reinforcing roads or bridges. Everyone in the military has a use even band members become stretcher bearers in times of conflict. So trying to raise shoulder on the basis that they sent x and we sent y is childish. Till today we do not know the unit or designation Nigeria sent, all the press releases call in 333 Battalion which is an air defence unit. The same unit that was sent to Darfur a few days earlier apparently. This is what I mean by looking at ourselves first, we have not go tour house in order we are talking about others. What unit did we deploy, an air defence unit or an infantry unit? What type of infantry? What is their training? What is the experience of the commander, his officers and men? How long has he been in command and what is their mission.
      Those are sensible questions not Ghana this Togo that, knee pads and MRAPs and all the other inconsequential stuff
      Abeg if Nigerians remain in Bamako its good for me, na only we sabi die? How many did we lose in Liberia (still waiting for accurate casualty figures) or Sierra Leone (ditto). What did our country gain,what did we lose? What did we benefit till today?
      Do we have exclusive contracts? Bilateral arrangements? Preferential trade deals? Abeg make I hear word

  5. beegeagle says:

    Peccavi, whenever any PERTINENT question is asked of Ghana or Britain, you get so emotional and defensive in an incongruent way like MI6. Why now?

    Sha, ECOWAS midwifed AFISMA. There is a war effort in Mali – not peacebuilding, not reconstruction and I doubt that the NA need the services of ONE construction engineer from anywhere under AFISMA. First, you claimed that Mali is perhaps distant reality to Ghana. Next, you said they were playing according to their limited means. More limited than Benin, Togo? More of a distant reality for Ghana than Benin and Togo which are situated farther away from Mali?

    You went so far as to justify the need for construction engineers at a time like this just to cover up a very unfortunate and selfish decision by the Ghanaian Government to have AFISMA shortchanged.

    No, that is not all that they can afford to send. Not when Ghanaian military tourists are galivanting across the globe on comparatively inconsequential but SAFE and LUCRATIVE PKOs. It is not okay because this is a regional thing here. It is either they are in entirely in or they can freaking stay out entirely. They cannot have 2,500 troops out on PKOs of dubious value and claim not to be able to muster more troops.

    Somebody has got to do the dirty work. Uganda and Burundi are smaller and their governments poorer than Ghana’s yet they have contributed the most towards stabilizing Somalia. Like Ghana are from Mali, they are two republics distant from Somalia which is rubble compared to Mali. The UPDF sent combat troops to a bombed-out Mogadishu and combat engineers too…not construction engineers. Al Shabaab got squeezed out of Mogadishu in August 2011. By mid-year 2012, a non military-led construction boom had gripped Mogadishu.

    For everything in life, there is a time and season. AFISMA is a West African venture and Ghana are craftily leaving it all for everyone else to do. Mali is not a distant reality for ANY ECOWAS country.

    Mali are the ONLY country in West Africa which is either one or two republics distant to every country in West Africa. She is everyone’s nextdoor neighbour or near-neighbour while the Timbuktu-Gao axis is the geographical centre of West Africa. In physical miles, Togo and Benin are located further away from Mali than Ghana.

    So Togo and Benin can manage to send 733 and 300 COMBAT troops each while
    Ghana can only AFFORD 120 non-combat troops? I really cannot believe that. It is not about what they can afford, it is about what West Africa must sacrifice.

    • peccavi says:

      Of the many tings I can be accused of, emotional is definitely not one of them!
      Maybe you dont see how embarrassing it is for a nation like Nigeria to compare itself to Ghana? Or that the fact a country makes its decisions based on strategic imperative not I big pass my neighbour, for example we either need submarines because we have sea lanes to defend against significant surface platforms or because South Africa and Algeria have them. Or we are sending troops to Mali or Sudan because Nigeria is sending them or because it is in our national interest.
      I only comment on Ghana when people start getting hyper about what Ghana does or what a Ghanaian says. I don’t think I’ve commented on a Ghanaian topic otherwise beacuse they are irrelevant. They are a the second Anglophone country in the sub region and thus should be our natural allies and trading partners but other than that what is their import? Does the UK comment everytime Spain does something? Dem no be mates, unless maybe France or Germany makes a move then you will hear something.
      Engineers are a valuable asset. infantry, armour etc all very sexy but without the boring stuff like logistics, engineers, intelligence, signals they are pretty pointless, so denigrating engineers is pretty silly. Construction or combat their skills will be paramount in this conflict. 90% of the time there will be no IED’s or shooting, but there will always be bridges to repair and strengthen, bases to fortify, roads to be built, fortifications put up. So from my point of view this sneering at engineers is irritating. A soldier is a soldier. If you guys really want to continue this rivalry between a minnow and a shark then please be my guest

  6. beegeagle says:

    KPOM KWEM, WoCon45! THAT is all I am saying. Haba, who com be dem mugu na? Na sense be dat wey dem tink say dem dey rack?

    It’s too poor..too bad. They can send combat troops and if they do not feel shy about it, ask to be “excused duty” whenever combat operations become imperative. That would be better than this fraudulent gesture thrown into a REGIONAL collaborative security effort.
    AFISMA need combat engineers..not construction engineers. Every AFISMA army have at least an engineer battalion as do Ghana, so who are they coming to serve?

    The Nigerian Army alone have FIVE BRIGADES comprised at least FIFTEEN field engineer, support engineer, construction engineer, survey and combat engineer regiments PLUS many dozens of squadron-sized Cantonment Mtce Groups and platoon-sized Barracks Mtce Groups.

    All of this misplaced show of sharpness reminds me of when we were in high school and we would secretly use Kari Cook to boil rice in the hostel after lights out. Some would bring rice, some Geisha tinned fish while one fake guy always insisted on contributing pepper and salt. Why? He would pluck the pepper from the school farm and take the salt from his dining hall. Sense man πŸ™‚

    At a point, we started plucking that pepper direct from source as well and fetching salt from the dining hall. So, ‘sense man’ soon found himself outmaneouvred and that was how he became a spectator in the feasts.

    Cunny man die, cunny man bury am.

  7. beegeagle says:

    No Peccavi, that explanation is a ruse. It is untenable. It does not amount to comparing a lynx to a lion. We say that Ghana are shortchanging all of West Africa by selling us this dud. There was a time when Doziex, Henry and my humble self used to urge caution on the part of Nigeria when deploying because the more we committed troops under ECOMOG, the less our West African neighbours chose to do so. Those countries which pledged 500 men would send a company while those which pledged a compnay-sized unit would throw in a platoon.

    I told you when you were talking about combat power the other day that as soon as the operations gets underway, you can expect Nigeria’s contribution to become boosted. Two more battalions are now training for Mali. That is why sometimes, we force a discussion to a conclusion. It is not everything that ca rt on a blog. That is why one frequently says “wait and see”

    Moving on, We ALL came together to form the ECOWAS Standby Force and also came together to form AFISMA. Ghana should have stayed out ab initio if they really believe that they have no interest at stake in Mali. After thirty five years of Free Movement of Goods and Persons in West Africa, ECOWAS is a family compound..not a group of compounds. Mali shall blow up in everyone’s faces if left unattended to..Ghana inclusive. The same way that Ghanaians like to do bunkering in Nigeria, so can Malian terrorists take advantage of naivette and infiltrate the country.

    It was the same all-for-one and one-for-all mindset which underpinned the noble idea of ECOMOG. Neither Liberia nor Sierra Leone are Ghana’s nextdoor neighbours and as a matter of fact, Mali are physically closer to Ghanaian territory than Liberia and Sierra Leone are.

    AFISMA was not contrived on the basis of anyone’s national interest. It was intended to be a response to a grave danger in the GEOGRAPHICAL and equidistant centre of West Africa.

    It is not okay to suggest that every legitimate question asked of Ghana, amounts to “Ghana bashing”. I asked the same question when it emerged that Guinea are sending only a company of combat troops while Togo are deploying a battalion.

  8. beegeagle says:

    Nobody is raising shoulders about anything, Peccavi. So stop the emotional blackmail already. Maturity does not mean justifying the indefensible because we have some unclear interest at stake.

    Benin are not in anyway threatened by Malian terrorists. The country is also MORE STABLE than Ghana and have had consistently smooth democratic transitions. But they know that they have a commitment to regional security and that is why they committed combat troops. Why is it only Ghana sending a construction engineers unit then? That soldier is a soldier lullaby is not true. Zimbabwe sent commandos to Kinshasa – not construction engineers. Angola sent armoured forces – not construction engineers. Uganda and Burundi sent combat troops to Mogadishu – not construction engineers. There are some gestures which a country makes that can only amount to playing on the intelligence of one’s peers.

    Countries such as Nigeria, CIV and Senegal have conflicts at home but realise that for their contributions to be made meaningful, they have to do something appropriate. Stop all this talk of national interest. AFISMA is the product of a collective agreement and not about the projection of any nation’s peculiar interests.

    If regional security means nothing, why are Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa all setting up standby brigades?

    Abeg, tok anoda tin. Wetin be dis wan?

    • peccavi says:

      Maturity is not insinuating ‘an unclear interest at stake’ when someone’s opinions differ from yours.
      The outcome of these discussions affects my life as much as debating the existence of extra terrestrial life, I’m sure I’ve declared my interests quite openly on this forum not that they are necessary but simply so as to give background to my utterances.
      Can you tell me what each country is required to contribute to the Regional standby forces and how the contributions are determined?
      Like I said several times being seduced by the sexy stuff does not change the reality that a soldier is a soldier and is useful in whatever trade. I have explained the utility of engineers be they combat or construction, commandos are not bullet proof so they as dead as any one else if they don’t have a proper FOB, armoured forces can be as armoured as they like if the enemy is one the other side of a river and the bridge has been blown up.
      It is perfectly legitimate to ask these questions, however when one asks them ad nauseum it looks more like an obsession or a complex than intellectual curiosity.
      Pertinent questions I can happily debate, petulant ones I’m kind of at a loss with

      • wocon45 says:

        Oga peccavi and beeg make una just take one bottle of harp each take cool down, tomorrow na work. The fact remains “The lion does not bother it self over the complaints of the sheep” this blog is too cool for this discussion. Nobody who’s interested in the ongoing events in Mali can feign ignorance about Ghana’s “cunny man” tactics we just hope they will change and reconsider their stance. Our people talk say if your nebour house dey burn and u sidon dey look, de next one na your own.

      • jimmy says:

        No oga Peccavi .Ghana CAN DO MORE YET THEY CHOSE TO DOmuch much LESS. This is not A TIME FOR BUILDING …. not just yet those TWO SPANKING BRAND NEW aircraft sitting in Accra gathering dust are sending a powerful message when those independence parade troops get on that c-17 they will see the planes on the tarmacas they are being lifted by the British yet once again
        The message is Ghana is the darling of the west for reason if we criticize Nigeria open season we have the right WHEN ANOTHER country UNDERACHIEVES TO GO AT THEM.
        I AM AN ENGINEER by training if Ghana was not being dubious they would of sent COMBAT SOLDIERS FIRST then Engineers second I am sure what ever LAKES that exists in a landlocked country that is 70percent desert ……. does not need a lot of bridges and no the argument does not wash about fortifications either every soldier no how KNOWS HOW to make a tent and survive under intolerable conditions they don’t need to be in air conditioned bldgs that is not what they are there for fortifications will come later …… much later

  9. beegeagle says:

    The funny thing is that if this were Nigeria, you would accentuate the failing to the point of having a universal effect – like that strange and cooked-up allegation that a GOC sold arms to Niger Delta militants. With Ghana or Britain, you would defend and reinvent even commonsense reasoning just so that black may become blue. When it does not go according to plan, you begin to bandy about words like naysayers being ‘childish’? Is that in itself a tantrum thrown by another child?

    Read the ABOUT section of this blog which ab initio advertises this as an OPINIONATED BLOG. What is opinionated about thinking something and having it bottled up? Do I look like one who is interested in political correctness? Na wa for you o

    Sha, there is no 333 Battalion in the NA. What we have is 333 Air Defence Artillery Regiment, a unit of 21 Armoured Brigade of the 3 Armoured Division and they are stationed in Maiduguri. They are NIBATT 40 and were deployed to Darfur in January 2013.

    The people in the loop for Mali are infantrymen drafted from 1 Mechanised Division and 2 Mechanised Division as we speak. As I write this, I am looking at photos sent to me which show infantrymen and SF of the Army in Mali. Sometimes, you really have to accept the limits of what you know or can access about the Nigerian military, my guy.

    See how laboriously you have been pooh-poohing the WEEKLY TRUST report about Banamba..right or wrong? Compare that to your vigorous defence of a strange deployment by Ghana in Africa where even Sierra Leone and Djibouti have infantry battalions in Somalia – not construction units. Unless I have something mixed up, we have Construction Regiments and distinct EOD Regiments.

    Which wan com be ‘engineer na engineer?’ All of a sudden, it is “a soldier is a soldier”. Abeg, na you mek we hear word for. Ogini?? πŸ™‚

    • wocon45 says:


    • peccavi says:

      Opinions are fine, we all have them. However opinions are not facts and are thus open to debate and dissection.
      I am not here to defend Ghana or the UK, I’m sure if they are bothered they can defend themselves, yet curiously neither country nor its bloggers or citizens takes as much time castigating Nigeria as we do those 2 nations.
      The Weekly Trust article is balderdash, if you think that I am saying that because I want to ‘pooh pooh’ Nigeria then wetin I go talk. It is designed to embarrass Nigeria, so that tomorrow people will publish articles saying we are liberating towns in government hands, does it make sense?
      I write and reason based on facts, logic and experience. If it can be shown that ther was an enemy force in Banamba that was defeated or even deterred by the presence of Nigerian forces great but that has not been the case I am not privy to Nigerian Army communications so again I could be wrong but again it is my opinion based on published facts and logical deduction. Nigerian forces are based in Banamba, they did not liberate it. We do not need to be so desperate for military success we make it up, we have nothing to prove
      Why would EOD be more important than General Support engineers? What is the IED or mine threat in Mali currently as opposed to the requirement to accommodate the best part of 8000 men and ensure that their lines of communications are secure and they have adequate force protection measures? What is the military priority? What is the biggest threat right now to the force in Mali? IED’s or logistics?

      Azazi was implicated and relieved of command due to the theft of weapons from an armoury under his command that were given to Niger Delta militants. Is this true or false? Does stating this make me unpatriotic or an enemy of Nigeria?

      All the press releases around the Mali deployment refer to 333 Bn, there is no 333 Bn in Nigeria only an AD Regt, as I said at the time this was a source of confusion. Is there a 333 Composite Bn? Or was 333 Regt diverted from the Darfur tasking to Mali? Or is it a totally different unit? Any answers? Or is asking this question more evidence of my unclear interests?

      Let me reiterate my points
      1) General support or close support or C-IED or EOD engineers are a valuable military asset. 90% of military activity is boring stuff, 60-80% of an expeditionary force is non combat
      2) If Ghana sends a Company, a Brigade or one man with a sharpened stick, na dem sabi. If they are not fulfilling agreed upon commitments (are they or aren’t they) then its for the relevant governments to talk. We are Nigeria, Ghana is not our mates. A lion doesn’t compare itself to a hyena. I cannot reiterate this enough. If in your eyes that means I am pro Ghana or pro UK or whatever then no shaking, if it makes you feel better to compare your self to a country who’s claim to fame is cocoa and azonto while our African and regional peers South Korea is launching satellites into space, Iran is developing stealth aircraft, India is producing attack helicopters and South Africa is so advanced it actually built nuclear weapons and then dismantled them singe handedly then it says more about your aspirations for Nigeria than mine. Again you are the one that must mention Ghana by comparison not myself. Shoe get size
      3) A soldier is a soldier, referring to a nation or its soldiers as cowards because they are combat support or whatever is childish and belies an ignorance of military affairs. Anyone who puts on the uniform of his country and steps up to the plate deserves respect irrespective. We have derided the Malian Army for their inability to stand and fight, we did not ask if they were elite infantry or engineers or 101 Bottle Washing Brigade. Because their skill or uselessness was not due to their corps but to their training and leadership.
      @Oga Jimmy: Mali is desert does not mean the population lives in the desert, they live in towns and villages which are along water courses, which means bridges. It is very poor which means that the few roads will be degraded by the procession of military vehicles. Military vehicles tend to destroy and damage civilian infrastructure thus needs strengthening. Southern Afghanisatn is mainly desert yet the green zone next to the Helmand river is full of irrigation ditchs and canals. How do you get vehicles there or get accorss when they are in flood? do you use the same bridges over and over again or do you have a variety and not just one that you vcan be channeled into? Can an old bridge support the weight of a jeep much less an MRAP. When planning an op the terrain is important, your mobility, your route and the equipment you use is determined by the terrain. All soldiers are useful. Except clerks and storemen, they are a fucking waste of time, always get the newest and shiniest kit and all the allowances and never get you salary right

  10. beegeagle says:

    That is what I am trying to say. Why should we labour to tell a Peccavi who has been in Afghanistan and Iraq that a construction squadron is not what Mali need now. We talk, he deflects. lie we all dey tok?

    See even in Central African Republic last December, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Gabon and Cameroon all sent combat units. Ditto South Africa. Nobody sent a constructuon unit there for God’s sake. When we talk, my guy says ‘hush’.

    See even dear old Sierra Leone with her freshly reconstituted army arrived in Somalia after Mogadishu had fallen. They did not bring a construction squadron in the name of wanting to help reconstruct the war-ravaged city?What Ghana have done is wrong..very wrong and we should not be all made to swallow the objectionable.

    We were here – even yesterday, I spoke about having seen an Otokar Cobra APC in the CCTV montage. What I did not tell you was that I also a Panhard Sagaie painted in red-green-black camo scheme…the NA’s colours.

    It is not okay to believe that we know the whole story by looking at the pages of newspapers. On TV News alone, we have been able to find out many things which the media organ that unwittingly splashed it did not even know amounted to a scoop.

    Let us watch and see how it goes. I have seen CTCOIN troops, SF chaps and two brands of armoured vehicles. It is not in the mainstream media. I have a steady stream of snippets coming my way all the time and sometimes…

    Haba, Nigeria say they are going to fight in Mali since when did they become guys to say fight and they show up with a construction unit? Even the NAF took QRF commandos and NAF Regiment infantrymen along.

    Abeg, if we see truth mek we tok am. Ah nor send anybody message and am not under any pressure to sound politically correct. This is just what I see from observing the four corners of Africa where the plan is to go to war – in Mali, Somalia and CAR.

    Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Burundi. Kenya, Uganda ALL deployed combat units. Ghana alone chose to deploy construction engineers because everyone else is a fool? And they have not even deployed the engineers?

    Na rubbish now. Notin dey dia to defend at all. Abeg, man don waka. Notin wey we neva see for dem hand. Whick kain jibiti be dat?

    • Somoric says:

      Oga Peccavi and Beeg, the ‘heavy’ grammar una dey blow dey sweeten the victory of my Super Eagles over my Ivorian brothers.I dey drink ‘sweet’ water o! If over football, we recognise that our footballers have underperformed until revealing and realising their full potential today. Everyone is entitiled to his or her opinion but the facts still remain the facts pato. I can’t believe that the GAF have two spanking brand new medium-lift aircraft parked on the tarmac in Accra and they are calling on the Brits to sort out the logistics to get these engineers to Mali. Haba and some commentators call that ‘bashing’? Whilst the smaller nations like Togo and Bukina Faso have got their troops into the Theatre of Operation, a big nation in our midst can ask a fellow African nation to make it happen. Dat one na yeye pride nah?. After nearly 30 years of ECOWAS, Countries cant look at the rule book now and determine what kind of integration they must have signed up too. Its my simple opinion! PS, I don’t discuss serious matters with ignoramuses, LOL

    • originalpato says:

      Haba Oga Peecavi if engineer na engineer? Then why can’t the engineers behind the iPhone build a ten storey building or those at Mercedes Benz build a gas powered power station if the Niger Delta.

      Ghana fall hand Q.E.D

  11. beegeagle says:

    Notin dey dia, Chairman. Monkey see, monkey do.

    We tackle the FG and MoD 24-7 here. You and I know that even the guys at the very top read us but do not mind because patriotism does not mean blind followership. Even this morning, Doziex and Freegulf again attacked over Jaguar and Su-30s.

    Our seeling point is that we are not professional critics. Once a good thing happens, we trumpet it loudly without prejudice. We have been shouting about the need to get our military airlift assets ready for big ticket transit. Thankfully, we have three more C130s returning to the skies this month.

    Ideally and for this Mali foray, I would pool two C130-H30s, two G222s, a Dornier 228, a Super Puma and two Agusta A109 LUH for military airlift and utility.

    We have attacked the MoD for not having got all our airlift assets ready since last year. We have criticised them for having botched the landmark deal for TWENTY C235s and also for their curious piecemeal approach to acquiring lots more of the surplus Mi-24V and Mi-17s available at knockdown prices in Russia.

    If things were stacked differently, it really would not amount to too much IF Nigeria and even Ghana with their C295s support other AFISMA contingents with airlift.

    It is not like we do not criticise our own people. Kyall even thinks we tongue-lash them too much. So why not comrades-at-arms in AFISMA? WHY NOT? Because they and Britain are blue-eyed boys while Nigeria are the hang dog?

  12. EastMan says:

    Lol. These charlies ehn.

  13. Yagazie says:

    Gentlemen- it’s always a pleasure reading the well thought out and reasoned ‘exchanges’ between beegz and Peccavi. Both are making solid points.

    However I tend to go along with Peccavi’s point of view. Nigeria is the regional hegemon in West Africa and as such we shoud not be comparing ourselves with Ghana. What they contribute to the Mali mission is left to them.

    Of more concern to us should be this- West Africa is supposed to be our ‘sphere of influence’- if we were doing the right thing and funding our Millitary properly, It should have been Nigeria and not France which should have been carrying out the bombing raids on the Islamist in Northern Mali as well as Nigerian troops and light armoured formations that should have been doing the work that the French troops are doing at the moment.

    Just as we unilaterally intervened in Liberia and Sierra Leone, we should have been in a position to do so in Mali and not wait for the French to move in and then we go in as part of an ECOWAS force- in our own backyard. Food for thought.

    • peccavi says:

      I completely agree, although there are good reasons to maybe avoid the mistakes of our unilateral and thankless task in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
      It comes down to (to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes) means and motive.
      The motive is the most important, do we have any reason to intervene unilaterally in Mali? Well yes, because of our own jihadist threat, the corrosive and destabilising effect of narco trafficking, the River Niger, the weapons market etc as well as our duty to uphold ECOWAS and AU resolutions.
      The means is the problem, in both Sierra Leone and Liberia our entrance was unopposed. We arrived at the invitation of the governments giving us legal cover as well as a secure foothold. Fair enough in both cases the governments changed and became hostile but this was way after Nigeria had consolidated and we still had the cpability to overmatch. When Charles Taylor objected to the NAF’s air ambush of the rebel SL Hinds, ECPMOG retaliated by flying Alphajets at low level over his palace every 30 minutes. The Liberians had nothing to respond and could not overrun the Nigerian forces at Roberts Field, likewise in SL the Rebels took Freetown but couldn’t take Lungi Airport.
      An opposed entry to even a small country like Mali would be a nightmare, it would in essence have been an invasion. Even till now Sanongo and his crew are whining about foreign intervention.
      We would have had to defeat the Malian Army,then you have to stop the Islamists from coming south as well as round up the Malian Army, then you are responsible as the occupying power for the sustainment, defence and administration of the country
      So to intervene unilaterally would have been impossible to be honest even if we had all our available combat power. We would have had no legal right to and it would have absorbed most of our armed forces.
      The next question is could we have done what the French did, respond to a plea for assistance? well yes but we would have lost Sevare/ Mopti and would have had to have fought our way back from Bamako. We could have forward mounted aircraft to Niamey and Bamako, but we would not have had access to the amount of intelligence the French did, since last year the US has effectively mapped the country with its Pilatus, they have assets on ground, remember last year when there were some funny French and US deployments to the Mediterranean and North Africa? This is what it was for so those pilots have been exercising and briefed on potential missions for months, our forces would be fighting blind as the US would not share that amount of intel with us without a tortous process
      How long would it take to get forces built up in Bamako or on the border? How would we have integrated without a common language. Like Naija Mali is multilingual so French is the lingua franca.
      So the question is do we not need a dedicated expeditionary force? able to deploy a battle group with air support in 48 hours, brigade in 72 and brigade group in a week. The air force should also have a deployable capability, nothing fancy, maybe 4-8 Tucano/ At 6 aircraft, planes that can land on straight roads, along with a trained rapid reaction ground crew who can deploy and set up in 48 hours. That is of course only if we decide that we need to be able to determine the outcomes of these events

  14. lawal tunji says:

    Oga Beeg and FM peccavi you both have made great points that I choose to see from both perspective. We can never compare Ghana and Nigeria,and let hope their time comes and they see how it is like being on the other side. Until then I wish our men and officers is mali safe outing (even though its never safe out there).

  15. beegeagle says:

    Peccavi, read your comments here..just for an example. You were very casually out to impugn the character of Nigerian military leadership to the extent of DIRECTLY implicating the GOC – as per profiteering from the sale of formation’s arms..not that his underlings sold weapons. You were not sure but you put it to us because it is Nigeria which dirt fits. If that had been Ghana, emotional beelines such as “childish’ and ‘bashing’ would have been liberally bandied about to dissuade anyone from asking questions. You do get very rational when it is Britain and Ghana and exasperatingly cynical when it is Nigeria.

    I have given you the particulars of 333 Air Defence Regiment and their current location and shall leave it at that since I am not on these pages to advertise my personal ties to the NA. They are UNAMID’s NIBATT 40 in Darfur.

    323 Air Defence Artillery Regiment of 2 Mechanised Division are also in Darfur as NIBATT 39. That is that about that. It does not matter what Strategy Page or whoever are writing.

    This is you again

    When you are cynical to an extent which may be distasteful to those who do not have such a despondent outlook on Nigerian life, people let you be. Nobody calls you ‘cynical’, let alone ‘childish’. That is the emotional blackmail entailed in it which is objectionable. Everyone here have their roles – from undergrad to Colonels and Generals, reading or posting.

    Nobody has made Ghana anyone’s peer. A nation which is the demographic and geographical size of one geopolitical zone in Nigeria and with a GDP the size of Lagos State’s cannot be the country’s peer. It is a straightforward deduction, whether or not it sounds palatable to them.

    What we are saying is SIMPLE and I have listed 17 other African countries which have deployed in conflict areas to show how odd that strange Ghanaian choice is. Everyone here, except you have shifted ground for the purpose of sustaining an argument, knows that the phase which France want to pass on to Africans is the IED, suicide bomb and ambush phase. So why are you suddenly repudiating what even you have predicted, just to prove that construction engineers are needed right now in Mali?

    On this thread today, you said

    ” In this COIN phase the skills of combat engineers will be paramount”

    So blue-eyed Ghana drop construction engineers instead and you shift gears? Which wan you dey na?

    • peccavi says:

      ‘This is good I hope it comes to fruition?’
      As a testament to my cynicism surely there are much better examples.
      I was cynical about Nigeria when I lived there and it has increased exponentially during my sojourns.When you see why tiny insignificant countries do with absolutely no resources you will understand why I hate the people who have destroyed Nigeria so much and why I will never hesitate to hold them to account. When you see what our people are doing abroad, how many parts of the world are run and depend on Nigerian skills then you will understand why I am so bitter. If you know how much of a joke Nigeria is, what hell it is to present a Nigerian passport anywhere and I mean ANYWHERE in the world, you will understand why I am cynical. I know what Nigerians can do, yet I see what Nigeria is reduced to. So while we are celebrating 4000MW landlocked, war torn, no oil having Mali has 24 hour light. While we are celebrating bullet proof vests in 2012, Biafra was making tanks and artillery rockets. So please let there be no doubt about my cynicism.
      Thanks for the clarification about the unit in Darfur, which one is in Mali?

      Azazi was implicated in the ND weapons case, if he was not directly involved then he failed as a commander, if he was then he is a traitor. Do you need me to explain how that works?
      The allegations have not been refuted or dismissed, or maybe they have and I’m unaware.
      I have explained in detail repeatedly the utility of engineers whatever their speciality. i have explained in this thread and elsewhere that the key phase now is hold and build, which literally means build or hardening locations. The IED threat has not started, I’ve explained the IED cycle before, you need bombmakers, supplys, bomb layers and a method of detonation. That infrastructure will not be in place yet particularly in the south. C-IED teams will be pretty pointless right now, EOD will be useful for destroying old ammo and weapons but right now you are going to be building and fortifying FOBs and other locations. The second wave of paradrops by the French into Timbuktu was of an Engineer Unit, were they EOD or combat engineers? Because when I make a point its disputed until oyibo confirms it

  16. beegeagle says:

    And why would the NA whose own engineers have more accomplishments to their name – be it in road construction, barracks construction, a drone built by General Maduegbunam,an APC and have been building their own fortifications for CTCOIN need army engineers from which AFISMA contingent which gained experience constructing fortifications for whom or where?

    You think Benin, Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso do not all have their own construction engineer units?

    Okay, France parachuted airborne engineers in but does that preclude the fact that they almost certainly have had combat engineers in their assault forces from get go? Even after Malian troops got blown up last week, you think France do not have combat engineers in tow?

    How would you know that their bomb-making loop has not come full circle? The AQIM and their progenitors in Algeria who were the first to detonate suicide bombs in Africa have yet to cross into Mali? Why are you so sure about that? Anyway, it won’t be long now. BH guys were arrested in Niger while heading to Mali in January 2012. They were carrying IED materiel. Does it occur to you that in the face of an unopposed occupation in northern Mali until two weeks ago, it was not imperative for them to show their hand as far as suicide bombing and IED attacks go? But now that they have been uprooted, they could show the world much quicker than we know it, that they have fully internalised the repertoir of IED making skills?

    As for the Nigeria anguish, “THIS is where we do we surge forward from here” is the practical side of what my Nigeria rumination yields. The defence and security aspect of what we have been thinking was what gave rise to this blog. That is why we see something – a LPD, ships, jets, a helicopter, an MRAP, a surveillance aircraft which would benefit Nigeria and we shed the spotlight on it.

    We have been calling for the NPA, NIMASA etc to stop buying speedboats for the Navy here. Last weekend, the FOC
    West also took the NPA up on the need to get larger-sized vessels. Those are outcomes which we try to influence and despondency cannot swing anything for anyone. Fixating on where we could have been does not help anyone. “I get am before nuh be property”

    • Henry says:

      OGA BEEG and OGA F.M peccavi have made solid points to buttress each other. However this argument over and over again is becoming really boring. We have pondered, discussed and argued over this topic for far too long. There is no point going over and over and over, over this stale issue. Personally I do not see the point of this very discussion reaching over 33 replies.

      It’s high time we take a critical look at this topic, we would all see that it is irrelevant, absolutely irrelevant going at each other’s throat over this silly topic.

    • peccavi says:

      I have no idea how advanced the enemy is in their plans but until they actually start laying IED’s the most use C-IED teams will have will be training troops and disposing of ordinance. On the other hand general support troops will be rushed of their feet. All troops are useful. If a country sends its marching band or mobile education corps I might be a little bit surprised but engineers I wont be, there will be a lot of work for them in the short, medium and long terms. Counter IED will be useful but right now until the enemy rebalances it wont be needed that much and even if the IED threat goes up it does not change the need for field fortifications, strengthened bridges, FOBs, roads and so on

  17. Number one says:

    It is not in our nature as Nigerians to keep pointing out another country’s mistake/weakness,our brothers can decide to do whatever they want i think its time we tune them out.We have to do what’s best for our country and not let ourselves be suckered in ……….

  18. freeegulf says:

    What marshal beegs said about contingents and contribution brings back ECOMOG drama in Liberia. this very Mali that the entire West Africa is trying to salvage from implosion, this same Mali that is receiving all the attention, when they decided to deploy to Liberia, all they brought was some staff crew. not to come serve and safeguard Monrovia, but to come learn from ECOMOG HQ how things are done.
    the same Mali deployed in Freetown during the hot days, and following the example of their Ghanaian counterpart (they might have been advised by the Ghanaian s), they refused to deploy troops into hot spots or alleged rebel territory. they didn’t even as much as help protect civilians. no, they were busy garrisoning installations and ancient Migs.
    now it has turned full circle. without the french push and pull, i dare say, very few of these countries would have lifted a finger. the francophone West Africa, ECOWAS is more economic that political. now reality is upon them. no country is safe from destabilization. the once ‘successful’ CIV is still reeling from the effect of civil war and ethnic crises. when Houphouet Boigny was supporting Taylor, I bet he never had a flicker about back blast.

  19. kyallkelvins says:

    Sort of you two are reading from very different scripts. Will join later. Currently i have some sorties to take care of. I beg you to keep it healthy.

  20. xnur44 says:

    Terrible true stories Freeegulf, strategically shortsighted leadership across the sub-region are causal factors that are mind burgling. When one consider the low intensity conflict in-country; seeds that were sown twenty years back or more, how concern are Nigerian leaders about perceived threats in the next twenty years and what/how are we going to deal with such threats. Government accountability, development, education, good governance et al have their place in a modern state; but can we honestly say that about Nigerian leadership today that this nation is getting her worth for any Naira earned and spent? How are our commissions and omissions leading Nigeria to as a nation in this contemporary world of insecurity? I dare scratch my head at the ways and mannerism which our leaders chose to develop our ability to defend this nation.

  21. freeegulf says:

    Gen xnurr44, i grit u. so on point!! Our leaders are deficient and lack decisiveness on national directives. This nation spends billions and we still cant give account of the petrodollars we have been earning.
    The seed of these discontents was sown decades ago. And the decadence of the ibb regime is still eating every fabric of this nation. The rot is even getting worse.
    Governance in this country is unsustainable. our geopolitics also, is in tatters. lack of clear strategy is not doing Nigeria any good.
    we had sanctions during the ibb years; the Americans had issues with narco trafficking and Nigerian lack of progress in stopping it. these sanctions became worse during the abacha regime; after the hanging of ken saro wiwa. but the key issue is this, what did the Nigerian government do to counter these sanctions? especially the arms embargo.
    by ’96, the Nigerian army was already 6 years into ECOMOG mission in Liberia. ECOMOG was in a very difficult situation. the troops where suffering, with their meagre $150 barely paid, and soldiers wearing rags. logistics was headache and copters where not even available in sufficient numbers to aid troops provision. the Americans barely showed any concern for the plight of ECOMOG or Liberia. in fact, Nigeria was literally on her own, in terms of supplies, provisions and funding for the mission in Liberia.
    while the west made the Ghanaians and other contingents their darling, Nigerian contingents where shunned completely. the brits, the Americans and even the Canadians where furnishing other contingents with kits and other military aid. meanwhile, the Americans kept saying the Nigerian contingents where the most demoralized.
    why did the abacha regime not counter the arms embargo by threatening withdrawal from Liberia? 1996 was a very bad year for Liberia, and Monrovia was in complete turmoil. by threatening withdrawal, the abacha regime could have use ECOMOG as a leverage to get war materiel for the Nigerian army. even if the supply of these armaments where provided with conditions; for ECOMOG use only. and it could have worked. Jerry Rawlings did same, he threatened to withdraw the Ghanaian contingent from liberia, and everyone, including the Americans started bending to Rawlings’ whims. ECOWAS even made him chairman, just to keep his troops in Liberia. we shouldn’t forget that the Clinton administration became more receptive to African affairs after the gaffes in Central Africa, during the Rwandan genocide. this was the same year that Rwandan refugees in Zaire where dying like flies. and when Kagame decided to force them back into Rwanda, even the Americans helped with tactical planning.
    but what did our leaders do? nothing. rather, the various factions in ’96 where allowed to fight among themselves and wreck havoc on Monrovia. all ECOMOG got where 2 choppers and several trucks contracted to PAE.
    now compare this with what Paul Kagame and Mussevini re doing in East and Central Africa. a simple leaked report from the UN, accusing Uganda of complicity in the Congo mess, brought harsh words from M7 who threatened to pull his troops from Somalia. now the UN is strongly denying the report. they are spending more time trying to appease M7 than indict Uganda in the DRC crises.
    Nigeria should not let this Mali ops be a waste of resources. We should use this opportunity to get as much goodies as we can from these countries urging action in the sahel

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