African Standby Force starts military exercises
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