Ghanaians protestors rally against U.S. military deal
ACCRA–– In a public display of opposition to the growing foreign military presence in West Africa, thousands of people protested in Ghana’s capital Accra on Wednesday against the expansion of its defense cooperation with the United States.
Holding placards criticizing a new deal with Washington that some say threatens Ghana’s sovereignty, Demonstrators blowing vuvuzelas and beating drums filled Accra’s business district.
Gifty Yankson, a 49-year-old trader, said: “As a right-thinking citizen, I am here to fight for my country. I am against selling our peace and security for $20 million.”
“They (the American military) become a curse everywhere they are, and I am not ready to mortgage my security,” Yankson said.
Sources from the Ghanaian police projected the crowd size at about 3,500 protesters. While officers in riot gear were present, no violence was reported.
Several western nations including the United States and France with international powers are looking to spread their presence in the remote Sahel region, where al Qaeda and Islamic State militants have gained a strong foothold in recent years.
Since President Donald Trump allegedly described African nations as “shithole countries” in a discussion on immigration, Washington is struggling to restore its image in Africa, which was damaged by reports.
Last week, Ghana’s parliament said, with the deal, the United States will invest around $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian military this year.
Ghana, for a long time, has been a long-standing David and others with military and trade ties within the United States, but many say the latest agreement was a step too far.
The United States has about 7,200 U.S. Defense Department personnel, including soldiers, stationed in Africa. Over half of those are stationed at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, with the remaining personnel scattered across 32 other smaller locations.