US/Africa military exercise due next week

Rwanda Defence Forces spokesperson Lt Col Innocent Munyengango speaks to the media. / Sam Ngendahimana

Rwanda will next week host “Shared Accord 2019”, an annual joint military exercise that brings together US Forces and other partner nations to foster security cooperation.

The exercise is slated to take place between August 14 and 29 at Rwanda Military Academy-Gako, Rwanda Military Hospital-Kanombe, and Gabiro Combat Training Centre.

This will be held under the theme “Partnership for Peace and Stability” with the aim of improving operational planning and mission command capabilities with a focus on peacekeeping operations.

Lt Col Innocent Munyengango, Spokesperson of Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), said that last year, the event only featured a Command Post Exercise and Medical Readiness Exercise, but this year it will also feature Field Training Exercise.

He said it would help participants to exercise around the full spectrum of a peacekeeping operation.

RDF, US Army and African military partners design Shared Accord 2019 in Nyagatare in March 2019. / Courtesy

Munyengango pointed out that last year’s training was successful in achieving its main objective of improving the interoperability and capabilities of the participating military, police, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations to respond to UN/AU mandated peace operations.

The number of participating countries has also increased from 15 to 25. The total number of participants expected to take part is 1,189.

The exercise consists of academic classes and discussion-based practical events, a computer-based exercise and a medical readiness training that is centred on the United Nations

“The exercise is an opportunity to share knowledge and experience with our partners which improves the interoperability and capabilities of participants,” Munyengango said.

At the end of the exercise, participants will be equipped with skills on command and control realistic multinational/multidimensional peace operations in accordance with UN/AU standards.

International organisations that will participate are ICRC, AU, UN, United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and protection of civilians, UNOCHA-UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, CoESPU- The Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units and USAID, Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

Rwanda is a fitting host as one of the world’s largest contributors of peacekeepers and one of the first to deploy peacekeepers to the Central African Republic in 2014. It maintains one infantry battalion and a level two hospital under MINUSCA.

Rwandan troops are specifically charged with providing security for high-ranking government officials and securing key state installations.

Shared Accord stands to provide an excellent opportunity to build relationships with partner countries in Africa who share a similar vision of security and stability.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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