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New policemen – and policewomen – for Ghat

After four months of training, some 450 local police recruits graduated at a ceremony in Ghat on Tuesday. They were the second intake of new police for the area and they included 38 new female police officers.

As well as a formal parade, the event include demonstrations of weapons dismantling and reassembling, rescue operations and police operations tactics.

“We had government approval to reopen the centre despite the difficulties the county is going through,” a spokesman for the police training centre said.

Some of the new police had previously been members of the former Supreme Security Committee and then attached to the interior ministry, he said. Others had worked with the local fire service or the tourist police.

“We will be at the service of the public,” said Ismail Qawi, who came top of the class among the new graduates. “The region needs the police.”

Ghat has been trying hard to maintain law, order and normality in extremely difficult circumstances over the past year and a half. It has at times been cut off because of continued fighting between Tebus and Tuareg at Obari on the lifeline road to Sebha. This has affected the supply particularly of food, medicines and other medical supplies, resulting in steep price rises in the shops and the local hospital in crisis.

In a separate but related development in the town, teams of volunteers, including the scouts, have just end a two-week campaign to rid it of out-of-date medicines. They have been collecting them for destruction from the pubic and various local institutions. The shortage of medical supplies is said to have resulted people not getting rid of expired items.

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