Mopheme/The Survivor (Maseru)

Lesotho will participate in Peacekeeping Programme

Maseru — The Lesotho Defence force (LDF) will participate in an annual exercise blue crane as a peace keeping programme, Captain Moeketsi Hlophe has said during a rehearsal exercise at Rothe. The South Africa Army Battle School in Lohatla Northern Cape from April 7 to 30 will host the exercise.

The exercise will be carried out between two fighting tribes, the Manaca and the Kambo who for a long time have been under a lot of tension. This was caused by the dispute over land, which was aggravated by the colonial conquering of both tribes.

This happened in the 18th century. Now in the 19th century after independence, both tribes continue to fight for their land with the Manaca being at advantage because they have armoury and equipment left behind by the colonial rule.

The exercise starts with the United Nations peacekeeping forces trying to assist the fighting groups to come together and solve their problems through peaceful means. LDF has refused to disclose the names of the 138 members going to take part in the exercise.All SADC countries will attend the exercise.

According to the press statement by the LDF public affairs office, the aim of this joint exercise code-named Blue Crane is to provide for the common bond of shared socio-economic and security responsibility as a one unified body to counter acts of militarism in the form of coup-de-tats and it is this perspective that regional stability can be maintained thereby enhancing economic growth. Lieutenant Poqa Motoa, LDF training wing instructor said the exercise will run for three weeks as from April 7 to 30.

The advance party that comprises the Commanders and leading groups of trainers will leave for South Africa on April 7 followed by movement of the rest of the troops from 10-13 April and will return home on April 30. "This will not be the first time Lesotho Defence Force takes part in the exercise of this nature, its first participation dates back in 1997 where our army did perform extremely well.

Therefore it will come as no surprise to the Lesotho soldiers to be embroiled in this adventurous and experience enriching," LT. Motoa said.

LDF also boasts some of the finest peacekeeping that displayed utmost professionalism and diligence coupled with thorough knowledge of their respective tasks; and this was evident during their annual training exercise held at Nyanga (Zimbabwe) in 1997. Senior Staff Officer Operations (SSO OPS) Colonel Lekate Lesitsi said the Lesotho Army peace keepers have been in the forefront ever since taking part in this type of exercise by displaying tremendous professionalism and his hopes are high that they will do the same this year.

This exercise was supposed to have been taken place in November 1998 at the same venue, but unfortunately had to be postponed as a result of the then prevailing military crisis in Lesotho.

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