An­gola hails Gen­eral Sibanda

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Free­man Razemba Se­nior Re­porter

AN­GOLA has hailed Zim­babwe De­fence Forces (ZDF) com­man­der Gen­eral Philip Va­le­rio Sibanda for the bril­liant man­ner in which he led United Na­tions peace­keep­ing forces in that coun­try in the 1990s.

Gen Sibanda headed United Na­tions An­gola Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Mis­sion (UNAVEM III) as the force com­man­der charged with peace and na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Speak­ing dur­ing a re­cep­tion to mark the 27th An­niver­sary of the An­golan Armed Forces held at the An­golan Em­bassy in Harare, An­golan Am­bas­sador Pedro Hen­drik Vaal Neto said their coun­try and Zim­babwe con­tin­ued to en­joy cor­dial re­la­tions.

“The An­golan Armed Forces and the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces have al­ways been on the same side and their fra­ter­nity is strength­ened ev­ery­day by mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion,” he said.

“We are cer­tain that the new gen­er­a­tion of Heads of State in both coun­tries, His Ex­cel­lency (Pres­i­dent) Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and Pres­i­dent Joao Lourenco will strengthen this union and abide on this path of co­op­er­a­tion for­ever.

“We thank you all for your pres­ence, es­pe­cially His Ex­cel­lency Gen­eral Phillip Va­le­rio Sibanda, Com­man­der of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces, a great friend of An­gola, who is recog­nised by all An­golans for the bril­liant way in which he led the peace­keep­ing forces in our coun­try along­side the United Na­tions.”

Am­bas­sador Neto said the An­golan Armed Forces con­sti­tuted one of the fun­da­men­tal pil­lars of the An­golan State and that they were an in­stru­ment of peace and unity in a coun­try, which for a long time had been se­verely im­paired by di­vi­sion and war. He said the armed forces also ac­tively par­tic­i­pated in the process of re­con­struc­tion and trans­for­ma­tion of An­gola into a mod­ern, peace­ful and sta­ble coun­try that the An­golan peo­ple as­pire to.

Speak­ing at the same oc­ca­sion, Gen Sibanda said as Zim­babwe con­sol­i­dated its In­de­pen­dence in the 1990s, a re­quest was made by the United Na­tions for the coun­try to con­trib­ute troops to the peace­keep­ing ef­forts in An­gola. He said in the spirit of Pan-African­ism, Zim­babwe did not hes­i­tate to de­ploy troops, staff of­fi­cers and mil­i­tary ob­servers as re­quested by the UN.

“The Zim­babwe De­fence Forces and their An­golan coun­ter­parts were also pi­o­neers in the early foun­da­tions to­wards the achieve­ment of the op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity of the Sadc Standby Force, when they took part in Ex­er­cise Golfinho, which was held in South Africa be­tween Oc­to­ber 16 and Novem­ber 8, 2015,” said Gen Sibanda.

“The full op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity would later be put to test along­side other standby forces from other re­gions of the African con­ti­nent dur­ing ex­er­cise Amani Africa 11, which was suc­cess­fully held at Lo­hatla, in the Repub­lic of South Africa from 16 Oc­to­ber to 8 Novem­ber 2015.”

Gen Sibanda said it was worth not­ing that An­gola made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the suc­cess­ful ex­e­cu­tion of the ex­er­cise, par­tic­u­larly through the pro­vi­sion of the Sadc Standby Force air­lift ca­pa­bil­ity. He said in the area of train­ing, the two de­fence forces had also im­mensely ben­e­fited from the mul­ti­lat­eral Sadc train­ing ex­change mile­stones.

“These mile­stones in­clude Ex­er­cise Vale Do Keve held in Wako Kungu, Cuanza Sul Prov­ince, An­gola from 1 Au­gust to 11 Septem­ber 2014, and Ex­er­cise Ma­hombekombe held in Kariba, Zim­babwe from 24 Au­gust to 25 Septem­ber 2015, among oth­ers,” said Gen Sibanda.

“Bi­lat­er­ally, our forces have had a num­ber of train­ing ex­changes in the past, mostly in the area of staff train­ing.”

Gen Sibanda said he was happy that the train­ing ex­changes had now been ex­tended to reg­i­men­tal and skills train­ing as was the case re­cently when ZDF mem­bers from the Zim­babwe Na­tional Army un­der­went a three-week fa­mil­iari­sa­tion train­ing tour on the T72 tanks in prepa­ra­tion for the Rus­sian In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Games held be­tween July 28 and Au­gust 11 this year.

He said on the other hand, they had a group of 15 mem­bers of the An­golan Armed Forces on English lan­guage train­ing in Zim­babwe.

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