RUBAVU - Armed forces participating in the East African Community Command Post Exercise (CPX), codenamed Ushirikiano Imara, yesterday conducted a field tour of Rubavu District.
They paid a visit to the Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo border to witness cross border movement and trade activities, the beer producing factory- Bralirwa, and were later hosted to a luncheon on Lake Kivu beach.
The contingent commanders, led by Brig Gen Jack Musemakweri, who has also been directing the exercise, signed an After Action Review document detailing what had been achieved, and lessons learnt in the course of the exercise.
The two-week military drills, hosted at Rwanda Military Academy- Nyakinama, helped the armies to jointly develop their capacity to respond to “complex security challenges.”
“The exercise has enriched us in terms of lessons, the participants were tested through numerous scenarios which they had to plan and conduct timely operations to respond to different and varied emergencies,” Musemakweri said.
He said that the participants now have a better and broader understanding of the issues, processes, roles and experiences related to peace support operations, disaster management, counter terrorism and counter piracy.
The exercise brought together more than 300 officers from all the five EAC partner states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
Brig. George Kabugi, from Kenya, said that, the training is a big step towards preparing to deal with problems in the region.
“The most memorable thing is to be able to work in a multidimensional environment, to work with different officers, and be able to understand each other; I thank the people of Rwanda for their hospitality,” he said.
The officers were hosted to a thrilling multi-cultural dance by Inganzo Ngari cultural troupe on the shores of Lake Kivu,
“We are confident that Ushirikiano Imara, has been a great and rewarding learning and excellent opportunity for the EAC partner states defence forces, as regards the way we envisage current and future peace support related operations,” Gen. Musemakweri stated.
Since 2005, the EAC has held a series of joint military exercises on peace support, counter-terrorism, counter- piracy and disaster management.
The CPX exercise will be followed by a “Field Training Exercise” (FT-X) in 2012, which will also be hosted in Rwanda.