US, Ghana Commit To Tackling Violent Extremism

Virginia Palmer, the US Ambassador to Ghana, has assured Ghana of the US government’s commitment to continuously support the country in combating threats from violent extremists.


She gave the assurance at the Exercise Flintlock 2024 held at the Tamale Airport in the Northern Region.

Exercise Flintlock 2024 (FL 24) is the US-Africa Command’s largest yearly joint exercise, showcasing a shared commitment to regional stability in North and West Africa alongside Ghana and other partner nation troops.

Its purpose is to assess the operational readiness of the participating countries’ Special Operations Forces (SOF).

The US African Command’s Special Operations Command – Africa (SOCAF) is in charge of organizing the exercise. Ghana is hosting FL 24, with Cote d’Ivoire serving as the secondary host, and the exercise will take place in Accra, Tamale, and Daboya.

The goal of Exercise Flintlock 2024 is to improve the ability of key partner nations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations (C-VEO), work across borders, and provide security for their citizens while respecting human rights and building trust with civilian populations.

At the drill in Tamale, Virginia Palmer stated that the US government has made a long-term commitment to supporting local communities at risk of extended conflict as part of the Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability.

They aim to strengthen social cohesion, provide economic opportunities for vulnerable populations, strengthen the military-to-military relationship, and strengthen Ghana’s security services to ensure the country’s resilience in the face of an increasing threat from violent extremist organizations.

According to her, since 2022, Congress has approved over $85 million for SPCPS implementation for coastal West Africa, with an additional $45 million expected this year.

“These past two weeks, the Ghana Armed Forces has demonstrated that in addition to being a net exporter of security and stability through peacekeeping, it is a capable leader in highly specialized operations as well as command and control,” she indicated.

According to her, this is one of many reasons the US is committed to supporting the Ghana Armed Forces through continued training and technical support.

Our longstanding partnership is based on shared democratic values and a shared history.

She explained that Ghana’s commitment to freedom of assembly, interfaith religious tolerance, and respect for human rights are fundamental to modern democracies and serve as a shining example of democratic norms.

“Through Flintlock and African Lion, we have demonstrated that our bilateral relationship is strong, productive, and mutually beneficial,” she intimated.

The US Ambassador stated that the US government is proud to work with Ghana as a West African leader, collaborating on regional security, investing in people through their long-term development relationship, protecting democratic institutions, and advancing mutual prosperity, and assured Ghana of their continued support.

“The number of senior leaders here today speaks volumes to the importance of these exercises and our focus on security in coastal West Africa.  Ghana’s efforts are backed by international and regional partners who value Ghana’s leadership and stand together with our African Partners to push back on threats against our common values and democratic norms,” she said.

The Chief of the Army Staff, Major General Bismarck Kwasi Onwona, commended the US government and other countries for their partnership to help fight against terrorism.

“Flintlock 2024 and African Lion 2024 are an opportunity for African nations to partner countries like the United States and other international countries to train and exercise in areas to fight against terrorism which has become a threat around our region,” he stated.

He, however, revealed that the threat of terrorism is gradually spreading to coastal regions, particularly in West Africa, but was quick to emphasize that with trains and other collaborations, they would be able to deal with such concerns.

The nature of special force operations requires an adherence to the Rule of Law and hence the participation of the Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) is key to FL 24. Participants are drawn from 36 countries spread over 5 continents.

Another operation, Exercise AFRICAN LION 2024 (AL 24) is an annual exercise designed to enhance regional security cooperation in North and West Africa.

The Exercise is supervised by the US Southern European Task Force Africa (SETAF-AF) and held in Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, and Senegal with participation from multiple European and African Partner Nations (APN).

AL24 in Ghana includes multinational activities such as Academics, Staff Planning Exercise, Medical Civic Action Programme and Field Training Exercise aimed at exposing participants to border security and Counter Violent Extremist Operations (C-VEO) within a multinational operational setting.

BY Eric Kombat, Tamale