At least 200 military officers from the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), yesterday, concluded their Command Post Exercise at Rwanda Military Academy-Gako, in the eastern district of Bugesera.
The two-week exercise, dubbed “Utulivu Africa III,” brought together officers from nine countries, out of the 13 that are signatory to ACIRC.
It was aimed at preparing the African military officers for immediate crisis intervention.
ACIRC is a strategic security partnership between the African Union and Volunteering Nations to enable the AU intervene on short notice in a crisis that may pop up on the continent.
The partnership was put in place in 2013 to serve as an interim mechanism until the African Standby Force (ASF) becomes fully operational.
At the closure of the exercise, Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, the chief of defence staff of Rwanda Defence Forces, said Africa continues to be plagued by security challenges.
He said the exercise was a better means of equip the continental force with the required skills to respond to the crises African countries face.
“We continue to face daunting challenges. The progress made remains fragile, always at risk of reversal, as illustrated by recent developments in South Sudan, the threat of full-blown civil wars in some parts of Africa, and other threats including terrorism, transnational organised crimes, piracy and mercenary activities, among others,” Gen Nyamvumba said.
“It is our joint responsibility to address these issues and to continuously identify and implement workable solutions. As such, we cannot over-emphasise the need to have robust peace and security mechanism. Utulivu Africa should serve to strengthen our capacity,” he added.
Gen Nyamvumba urged the participants to apply the lessons they learnt from the exercise to reaffirm Africa’s assurance to promote peace and development on the continent.
“The lessons you have learnt from this exercise should reaffirm our leaders’ conviction that ACIRC should stand as a legacy and practical cornerstone to the peace and development of our peoples,” the RDF chief said.
According to the organisers, the exercise drew participants from the Framework Nation, ACIRC Volunteer Nations, African Union and Regional Mechanisms with the purpose to enhance operational readiness and interoperability, among nations.
Bam Sivuyiye, head of Peace Support Operation division at the African Union Commission, commended Rwanda for hosting Utulivu Africa III.
“We believe that the aim of this exercise which is to develop an effective and core mission management and capability to ensure the forces are properly utilised, will be achieved. We thank the Government of Rwanda for hosting Utilivu Africa,” he said.
Sivuyiye said such exercise reaffirms the AU principle of independence and not relying on international support to solve Africa’s problems.
Meanwhile, Maj Gen Martin Nzaramba, who was the exercise commander, said that the skills developed in the exercise are vital to respond to any kind of crisis on the continent.
“The skills developed, particularly the capacity of conducting joint planning, assessment of situation and conduct of intervention at operational and tactical levels are of vital importance in responding to the crises on the continent,” he said.
Gen Nzaramba added that the exercise equipped ACIRC forces with skills and procedures of fighting in built-up areas using air, land and maritime forces, and that the professionalism displayed was of the highest standard.
ACIRC Volunteering Nations include Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.