African Standby Force starts mil­i­tary ex­er­cises

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Mem­bers of the African Union’s new 25,000-strong multi­na­tional standby force are gath­er­ing to be­gin field train­ing for the first time.

The ex­er­cises in South Africa aim to make sure the force is ready by Jan­uary to re­spond to crises across the con­ti­nent.

The force will be made up of five brigades from Africa’s eco­nomic blocs.

It is be­ing set up to avoid re­liance on the out­side world in peace­keep­ing across the con­ti­nent.

The lo­gis­ti­cal base for the African Standby Force (ASF) will be in Douala in Cameroon fol­low­ing a deal signed last week.

The train­ing be­gins at the South African Army Com­bat Train­ing Cen­tre in Lo­hatla with an open­ing cer­e­mony on Mon­day.

On Tues­day, 5,000 of­fi­cers from the mil­i­tary and po­lice of­fi­cer will be in the field where the ASF will have to in­ter­vene in a fic­ti­tious coun­try.

The op­er­a­tion, which con­tin­ues un­til 5 Novem­ber, is in­tended help eval­u­ate how ready the force is to re­spond to crises and mon­i­tor peace­keep­ing mis­sions.

The ex­er­cise was meant to be car­ried out in Le­sotho in 2014 but was de­layed be­cause of se­cu­rity is­sues in the coun­try.

One of the rea­sons the ASF was es­tab­lished was so African coun­tries did not need to rely on coun­tries out­side Africa for con­flict res­o­lu­tion.

The African Union has been in­volved in other peace­keep­ing mis­sions and has 22,000 troops in So­ma­lia

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