United States (US) Army General Stephen Townsend, the Commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) began a multi-day visit to West Africa which included stops in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire on September 20-21, 2021.
According to a press release issued by AFRICOM, General Townsend met with government officials and senior military representatives to discuss the need for continued cross-border cooperation to improve and maintain security across the region.
“The visits to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have been very productive,” said Townsend.
“I was able to meet with senior African leaders to talk about the importance of continuing our regional approach to addressing security issues and how we at U.S. Africa Command can help.”
In Ghana, Townsend met with the Ghanaian Air Chief Air Vice Marshall Frank Hanson and Air Commodore David Akrong, air force base commander in Tamale. Townsend also visited Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), which supports the U.S. Africa Command mission.
The second SFAB provides trainer-advisers who work with security partners across the African continent to increase theatre security cooperation efforts.
“The SFAB’s provide a unique capability to the command. They provide tailored support to our African partners,” said US Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Richard Thresher, senior enlisted leader, US Africa Command.
“They are in Ghana to train, support and advise the Ghanaian Armed Forces in support of their operations focused on emerging terrorist threats and border security.”
In Côte d’Ivoire, Townsend met with Ivoirian president Alassane Ouattara, Minister of Defense, Téné Birahima Ouattara, Chief of the Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Lassina Doumbia, and other Ivorian security leaders to discuss cooperative training opportunities. Townsend also toured the International Counter-Terrorism Training Academy, French acronym AILCT.
The AILCT was established in October 2018 in partnership with France. The academy brings together specialized services to tackle security challenges posed by terrorist threats from both a regional and global perspective.
US Africa Command and our West African partners continue to work toward our shared goal of securing their northern borders from encroachment by terrorist and other violent groups, improving maritime domain awareness, and increasing security cooperation across the region.