A five-day regional training course, dubbed African Integrated Peace Operations Course, that is aimed at enhancing knowledge and understanding of integrated crisis management approaches, began on May 7, in Kigali. The course was organized in partnership between the Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT), the Ministry of Defence through the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA), and the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) Secretariat. The training is being attended by 34 military, police, and civilian personnel from nine Eastern Africa Standby Force member states – Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, and Uganda. ALSO READ: Protection of civilians emphasised as regional security course opens Brig Gen Jean-Baptiste Ngiruwonsanga, the head of Peace Support Operations of the Rwanda Defence Force, presided over the official opening ceremony. In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of joint training and collaboration among military, police, and civilian personnel from different countries. By working together, they can effectively plan and execute integrated crisis management approaches, utilizing the latest techniques to enhance their respective contributions to the mission. Furthermore, as the African Union has become a vital partner for the UN, understanding their approach is essential, and the cooperation between EASF, Finland, and Rwanda Peace Academy is highly appreciated in this regard, Ngiruwonsanga added. ALSO READ: Meet on support relationships in armed conflict ends Lt Col Niclas Von Bonsdorff, the commanding officer of FINCENT, emphasized that the UN's integrated peace operation concept is an all hands on deck situation due to the complexity of most international conflicts. He said that it is not only the military who should be taught the concept but also civilian and police actors, as cooperation between all actors is essential in such complex situations. Von Bonsdorff expressed his satisfaction with the progress made over the past 13 years of the course and believes that it has contributed to increased knowledge among member nations. I am confident that the course will have a positive impact on the security situation, he said. ALSO READ: UN military training kicks off at Rwanda Peace Academy According to Col Ibrahim Mohamed, the chief of staff of the military component at EASF, despite the fact that the EASF military has not been deployed for any mission since its establishment, the African Integrated Peace Operations Course has already had a significant impact. This is because the course's alumni have made contributions to various peace operations in different missions for the United Nations, he said. Mohamed noted that this training program prepares the EASF to always be ready to respond to any conflict that may arise in the region. Colonel of Police Terrence Bahufise from Burundi stated that the course will help them conduct operations with officers from different countries, without facing language barriers. He emphasized the importance of interaction, sharing information, and working with all actors towards one goal - peace. ALSO READ: EASF chief rallies for joint pre-deployment training The course is set to bolster the participants’ capacity to devise plans, cooperate, and exchange information seamlessly with all the components involved in an integrated mission. Additionally, the course underscores the African Union's approach to peace operations, given its crucial role as a partner for the United Nations. It will equip the participants with the necessary skills to harness the full potential of the integrated approach, amplifying the impact of their contributions to the mission.