Western Naval Command honours fallen heroes in Sekondi

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The Western Naval Command has held a memorial service at the Sekondi Naval Base to remember gallant officers and ratings of the Navy who died during the Liberian Civil War about 32 years ago.

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

The service was to remember and honour the memory of the naval officers and ratings who lost their lives in the line of duty from the infamous shelling of Ghana Navy Ship (GNS) YOGAGA in Liberia on September 14, 1990.

It was also to remember personnel who were callously murdered at the Sekondi Naval Base on February 4, 1982, as well as those who died in Peace-Keeping Mission throughout the world.

Exactly 32 years ago, GNS YOGAGA, as part of the Ghanaian contingent of the ECOMOG Taskforce that wanted to restore peace to war-torn Liberia, was shelled in the freeport of Liberia by a faction in the conflict.

Four Ghanaian Naval personnel were among 15 ECOMOG troops who were bombed on their way to Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The four Ghanaians were crew members of GNS YOGAGA.

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

Three of them died on the spot while the fourth one died en-route to Freetown, Sierra Leone.

On the eve of Christmas in 1989 Charles Gangi Taylor, who once served in the Liberian Government General Service Agency under late President Samuel Doe’s regime, launched a rebel invasion with about 100 Liberian soldiers from Cote d’Ivoire.

The aim was to overthrow the then President of Liberia Samuel Doe but it resulted in a civil war in Liberia.

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

The Liberation Movement was known as National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) with Prince Johnson as one of the key generals.

Prince Johnson split from Charles Taylor in July 1990 and formed the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).

In an attempt to end the civil war, a group of West African nations under the auspices of ECOWAS sent a peacekeeping force known as ECOMOG to Monrovia in August 1990.

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On September 14, 1990, a Ghanaian delegation visited the Peacekeeping Force together with troops from Nigeria, Sierra-Leone, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger in the heat of the invasion by the rebels.

The delegation was earlier conveyed from Freetown to Monrovia by the GNS YOGAGA and was scheduled to sail back to Freetown after their visit to continue to Ghana as the airport in Liberia could not be used.

The ship was later requested to evacuate casualties from the battlefield to the 36 Military Hospital in Sierra Leone and so the sail of the delegation was delayed.

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

Just as the casualties were being brought on board GNS YOGAGA, suspected supporters of Prince Johnson who might have been aggrieved by the decision of the delegation to meet President Doe instead of Johnson launched the attack.

The first shell landed on the ECOMOG Headquarters which was located at the harbour.

Within seconds, the next shell landed on GNS YOGAGA just around the mid portion of the ship.

Two other shells also landed in the sea very close to the ship and three crew members of GNS YOGAGA died.

In all, 15 ECOMOG personnel lost their lives and about 25 were wounded.

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

The Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command, Commodore Samuel Walker, in his address told the naval staff and ratings not to rest on their oars but to, in unison put their shoulders to the wheel to keep the ensign flying high as they are honouring the fallen heroes.

He consoled the families and loved ones of the deceased, adding that “we as a grateful nation and armed forces shall never forget the fallen heroes. We will continue to remember them in our prayers.”

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

The Western Regional Minister, Dr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, also in an address indicated that it is important to remember the fallen heroes to inspire the rest of the naval officers and ratings to continue to keep their faith with the values of selflessness, loyalty, honour and integrity, which underpin the noble profession of arms which the fallen heroes died for.

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

He said, the government will do everything within its power to provide the needed logistics and tools to the navy to become more efficient I the discharge of their duty.

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

Western Naval Command, Sekondi Naval Base, Memorial service, Fallen heroes, Liberian Civil War, Peace-Keeping Mission, GNS YOGAGA, ECOMOG, Sierra Leone, Charles Gangi Taylor, Samuel Doe

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