ARUSHA - The Minister of Defence Gen Marcel Gatsinzi, has reiterated the need for a regional approach in dealing decisively with negative forces that remain a threat to security in the Great Lakes Region.
Gatsinzi made the remarks yesterday while officially closing the “Ex Mlima Kilimanjaro 2009” military field training exercise in Monduli, Tanzania where he represented President Paul Kagame, who is the current EAC Chairperson.
“Genocidal ideologies still linger in a cross section of people who constitute a threat to member states in the form of negative forces,” the Minister told a huge crowd that comprised of chiefs of defence and Ministers of Defence from EAC partner states.
Other regions in Africa, he added, are engulfed in inter-state conflicts with disastrous effects that could spill over borders.
The first-ever joint military training exercise brought together 1,500 soldiers from EAC partner states.
A military parade that comprised of all the forces stood at attention during the closing ceremony while an army band played the national anthems of the five member states.
In his speech, Gatsinzi attributed the source of Africa’s conflicts to its rich resources which he said have continued to fuel conflict other than contributing to poverty eradication among the people.
“These threats are potent and real and need attention. We need to act together and fast enough,” Gatsinzi said.
He said that the regional forces deserve the support of policy makers and people in order to accelerate regional integration by ensuring peace and stability.
On the formation of a regional force in future, Gatsinzi said: “There is a need for a professional, cohesive, agile, compact and ready regional force to keep the peace and deter any aggression.”
A similar military training exercise code-named ‘Exercise Natural Fire’ will be held between October 16 – 25 in Kitgum district, Uganda.