Israel Offers to Train Drone Operators for Ghana’s Special Forces

Senior Israeli and Ghanaian officials met last week in Accra to advance defense cooperation

An Israeli drone on the runway on the Golan Heights last year.
An Israeli drone on the runway on the Golan Heights last year. Gil Eliahu

Israel has offered to train Ghana’s army to operate drones, reported the Ghana Armed Forces reported last week. Ghana's military chief, Lt. Gen. Obed Boamah Akwa, met with senior Israeli officials at the main military base in the capital of Accra to improve military cooperation between the countries.

The unmanned aerial vehicles involved will be used by Ghana’s special forces for tactical surveillance and counter-terrorism purposes.

The Israeli officials said Israel was willing to finance the training of the drone operators, according to the report.

The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Ami Mehl, and Defense Attaché Col. (res.) Aviezer Segal, were reported to have met with senior Ghanaian military officers in late July to discuss the plans.

Israel did not comment on the report, but the Israeli Embassy in Accra’s Facebook page did report on the visit and that Segal held meetings with senior police and military officers. “The discussions highlighted the need for Ghana and Israel to collaborate more on issues of defense and homeland security,” posted the Embassy.

Israeli Ambassador to Ghana Ami Mehl (left) and Defense Attache Aviezer Segal (right) met in Accra with senior military officers on July 26, 2017.
Israeli Embassy in Ghana Facebook page

Segal is employed by the Defense Ministry in the International Defense Cooperation Directorate, known as Sibat, which is involved in expanding Israel’s cooperation with foreign customers. But he visited Ghana in a different role, as an officer in the reserves, in which he serves as the Israeli military attaché to African countries. As part of his reserve service he was sent to Ghana and attended official meetings in his official Israel Defense Forces dress uniform.

This post is considered reserve service in every way. In the 1990s, Segal served as the commander of the Jordan Valley brigade and as the IDF military attaché in Moscow. He has participated in official meetings in other African countries, for example during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Uganda last year marking 40 years to the hostage rescue operation in Entebbe.

The IDF said that instead of posting a full-time military attaché who is an officer in the professional military with the rank of colonel, it is preferable to appoint an officer in the reserves to the post.

Israel and Ghana cooperate on a number of defense matters. Ghana participates in the UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon, and has about 870 soldiers stationed there, stated a United Nations report in June.

In addition, a number of Israeli defense companies operate in Ghana. For example, in June two Israeli companies presented their surveillance and observation systems to the Ghanaian military.