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"The 2009 Exercise Fire Blast," an inter-service shooting competition of the Ghana Armed Forces, (GAF) ended in Sunyani on Friday with a call on the media to join the GAF and other stakeholders to help bring peace to Bawku and other conflict areas through objective and truthful reportage.

Major General Peter Augustine Blay, Chief of Defence Staff, who made the call at the close of the five-day exercise, at the Yaohima Military Range, near Sunyani, said "inflammatory reportage that can undermine efforts at resolving these conflicts must be avoided."

In attendance were Major General Joseph Adinkrah, Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral Matthew Quarshie, Chief of Naval Staff, Air Commodore A.A. Awesima, Office of the Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Muhammed Munil Tashiru, Commandant, Military Academy Training School and Naval Captain Francis Kwasi Eshun, Deputy Director, Defence Intelligence.

Major-Gen. Blay explained that the media could help keep the peace in the various conflict areas "by being a little circumspect in their reportage on sensitive operational matters."

He denied recent media reports that "our troops in Bawku had paraded suspected gunmen naked in public," stressing, "investigations have revealed that the reportage was exaggerated and factually incorrect".

The Chief of Defence Staff stated that the GAF would continue to exploit opportunities for joint and combined training for effective mission accomplishment.

"We must also standby to cooperate with civil society groups and other agencies to combat the security ills that plague our country," Major General Blay said.

Giving a brief history, Major General Blay said the GAF as an institution of State, was established to create the necessary security environment for the socio-economic development of the country.

"We, therefore, have the onerous responsibility to be proficient in the use of our personal weapons for the achievement of our mission," he stated.

Major General Blay recalled that in recent times the GAF had been called upon to ensure peace in conflict areas like Yendi, Bawku, Gushiegu, Sankore and many other areas.

"Troops have also been deployed to deal with such social crimes as armed robberies and others and in the course of these duties we have become the target of miscreants who want to thwart our noble efforts," the Chief of Defence Staff stated.

Major General Blay gave the assurance that the GAF would step up efforts at safeguarding the oil exploration activities in the Western part of the country's waters with the expected first commercial drilling in the third quarter of the year.

"We would also vigorously confront and eradicate the menace of armed robbery in collaboration with the Police," he added.

During the exercise, the Army, Navy and the Air force competed in M16 rifle shooting, SMG and Pistol Norinco shootings as well as Falling Plates.

The Army came first in the Falling Plates and received a certificate, plaque and trophy while the Air Force took a certificate and trophy as the first runner up.

In the SMG shooting, the Army was adjudged best and received a plaque, trophy and certificate while the Air Force as the runner up took a certificate and a trophy.

The Army again won the M16 rifle shooting and went home with a plaque, certificate and a trophy while the Navy received a certificate and trophy as the first runner up.

The overall best team accolade went to the Army, which received the same prizes. Similar Prizes were given to individual participants who distinguished themselves during the competition.
Source: GNA

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